If you want to witness the best of sport and the drama of competition the the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup has had it all.
I have seen some incredible rugby and yesterday’s semi finals matched the atmosphere of anything I have seen in rugby.
The real joys of following the tournament has been the family feel to it. People know each other and many of the supporters are close to the players so there is a connection that binds people together. I have never been to a World Cup. I’ve never got involved in one. I probably regret not coming over for the whole thing now. There have been huge shocks along the way. The Black Ferns loss to Ireland. The Canadians incredible backline working off of a pretty useful pack of forwards; overcoming the french hosts to book their first final spot.
The Olympics is going to change the way women’s rugby works. The quality of this tournament goes to prove that the 15’s game has to ensure it isn’t left behind in the forthcoming change.
Rugby is governed by people who on the whole are not famed for proactively seeking to solve problems. At a time when the direction in which many countries are going to go in terms of investment into the women’s game is uncertain. The people in charge need to remember the importance of the 15s game.
I believe womens rugby suffers from a chicken and egg scenario. The argument is always made there is not enough interest to increase investment and therefore interest never increases. The truth is if investment was made then the interest will grow. It may not grow today but it will grow and tournaments like this World Cup will increase in popularity. Hopefully without running out of beer!(yes this happened at the semi final) Everyone wins in the long run. I don’t know how You do it, but it has to come from the top. Maybe sides in the top 15 male rankings should all promise to invest in the 15’s women’s game and commit to regular international fixtures. Of course smaller rugby nations like Samoa, Kazakhstan, and Spain should be helped with investment higher up to help continue their progression.
For rugby to continue to be a fully inclusive sport for all. The 15’s game has to be protected and unions have to ensure they do not just push all their resources to the 7’s. Rugby World Cup 2014 has been a privilege to watch and should be a springboard for the 15’s game to thrive, for the benefit of future players and for rugby as a whole.