With the success of the Black Ferns at this year’s World Cup, there is added impetus for the formation of a professional league for women’s rugby.
New Zealand Rugby would take a new 15-a-side competition, with tentative plans to start in 2019, with the big question being whether or not such an enterprise would be profitable.
The concept is to have a brief season of two months during the summer, with a women’s league being played separately from the men, rather than as a sideshow.
There is still quite a bit of hush-hush going on, but NZR and the NZRPA is in talks to develop a memorandum of understanding. For those with short memories, a memorandum of understanding was almost behind the demise of Australian cricket back in June of this year and the memorandum of understanding we once had, known colloquially as a marriage license, was not worth the paper on which it was written.
Still, with the Black Ferns having won their fifth World Cup this year, there are many reasons why women rugby players would like to take something more than a cup out of the game.
NZ Rugby’s head of women’s rugby development Cate Sexton, told the Herald, “It is all on the table really. We’re working through that over the next few months with the players association is to ask ourselves ‘what is it that we need to enhance the environment for our women in terms of competitions?'”
Rugby participation by women has been growing for some time and it requires looking no further than the success of both the Black Ferns and the All Blacks to understand why.
Success such as that New Zealand rugby has enjoyed inspires a new generation to emulate sports heroes.
It remains to be seen if the professional women’s league becomes a reality, but it is entirely possible that somewhere in New Zealand, there is rugby talent that would welcome the chance to play professionally.