Friday, October 21, 2011

Women's Rugby in America

Contributed by Annabel Sergeant.
Area Manager, USA Sport Group.
Scotland Rugby International.

As the worldwide leaders in sport and with a reputation for breeding world class athletes, it is no surprise that rugby in the USA is becoming an ever more popular sport. In particular, women’s rugby is rapidly developing in the States and throughout the rest of the world.

In the history of women’s rugby there has been six World Cups, of which only the last four have been officially sanctioned by the International Rugby Board (IRB). The Eagles (USA Women’s National Team) won the first ever Women’s World Cup in 1991, England won in 1994 and the latest four have been won by the New Zealand Black Ferns. The tournament has grown considerably in the past fifteen years although television audiences and event attendance still remain relatively low, especially in comparison to other women's world cup events. The recent 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup games were broadcasted on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom, which has remarkably helped to develop the growth of women’s rugby in the UK.

Having come from playing in a small city in a very small country (Dundee, Scotland) to playing in the most famous city in one of the largest countries in the world (New York City), I have witnessed a few comparisons.

I have seen the overall fitness level is much higher here in the US, which I believe stems from their sporting culture from a young age. The competition for positions on a team is again, much greater due to the sheer number of women living in NYC area. I also believe the attitude towards progressing shown by the Americans is outstanding.

All this said, I was disappointed to find that one of the greatest sporting events, the Men's 2011 Rugby World Cup has rarely been show on US TV. Out of the hundreds of channels, not one was able to show this world class event, which I believe is a huge setback for the progression of rugby in this world dominating country, America.

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