Rugby Australia announce women’s competition for 2018

Scott Pryde Roar Guru

By Scott Pryde, Scott Pryde is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger


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    Fresh off appointing Raelene Castle as their new chief executive, Rugby Australia has announced a new women’s competition in the 15-a-side format for 2018.

    The competition, known as Super W, will run alongside the men’s Super Rugby tournament with five state teams – Queensland, NSW, ACT, and Victoria, as well as Western Australia after the Force were sensationally scrapped from Super Rugby earlier this year.

    Until now, women’s rugby in Australia was divided into local and regional competitions, with there being occasional representative opportunities domestically.

    Having five teams all located in different states will give the competition a truly national sense, and like other codes who have recently announced competitions, they aren’t rushing into making it bigger than there is the talent for.

    Outgoing RA CEO Bill Pulver hailed the decision, saying:

    “For a young girl picking up a rugby ball for the first-time next season, she will now have a clear and accessible pathway to represent her country through the Wallaroos and Australian Women’s Sevens team.

    “Super W will allow our women’s XVs players the opportunity to play in a high-quality competition, fully entrenched within the professional programs at each state giving them access to elite coaching and high-performance facilities. This will make the Wallaroos a significantly stronger outfit moving forward.”

    Women’s sevens co-captain and Wallaroos skipper Shannon Parry also lauded the new competition.

    “I am really proud and excited about this competition launching next year and what this means for the game in Australia,” Parry said.

    “Since I started playing rugby in Brisbane the game has come along in leaps and bounds and this competition means that there is opportunity now for all XVs players and sevens players at the elite level.

    “It’s going to be great to see Women’s State teams slug it out against each other and will open a lot of girls’ eyes up to the opportunities for them in Rugby.

    While sevens rugby has been booming for the Australian national side leading to the establishment of a women’s domestic university competition last year, the new 15-a-side competition will see a much more defined national pathway built to Wallaroos representation.

    The Australian national side finished the recent 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup in sixth place, losing the fifth-place play-off 36-24 to Ireland.

    The next World Cup slated to be held during 2021 with the hosts still to be decided.

    Australia’s sevens side took home the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and many of those players are likely to line up in the new competition.

    The announcement from Rugby Australia comes hot on the heels of the NRL announcing their own competition for women just a week ago.

    It also means there are now major women’s competitions for all of Australia’s major sporting codes: rugby union and league, cricket (although there is no national four-day competition yet), football and AFL.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,800 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (36)

    • Roar Guru

      December 13th 2017 @ 11:20am
      John R said | December 13th 2017 @ 11:20am | ! Report

      Another great Pulver initiative. Great news.

      I wonder if this means Buildcorp will get back on board with NRC sponsorship? I note it doesn’t mention if the comp will be professional or semi pro. From memory they cancelled sponsorship due to the lack of a professional female competition.

    • December 13th 2017 @ 11:42am
      Working Class Rugger said | December 13th 2017 @ 11:42am | ! Report

      Would have preferred it to have been at least a double round meaning 8 games for each side and 10 weeks total but its a start. Hopefully we’ll see some growth in terms of participation to include both Sth Australia and the Aus. Defence Forces who also feature at the women’s nationals.

      Potentially even set up a similar arrangement to that of the Drua in the NRC. That would be awesome.

    • December 13th 2017 @ 12:05pm
      rebel said | December 13th 2017 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

      Great news for Australian womens rugby. However the timing of it a couple of months before Super Rugby kicks off does seem to look a bit reactionary to the threat of lising players to the previously announced womens rugby league. Especially when you take into account the comment about the IPRC and it taking time to set wheels in motion.
      Anyway apart from my pessimism, looking forward to seeing the girls run around.

      • December 13th 2017 @ 12:27pm
        Working Class Rugger said | December 13th 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

        Perhaps so. But again at least it’s something. So I guess there’s that.

        • December 13th 2017 @ 1:33pm
          rebel said | December 13th 2017 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

          agree, would have been a shame to lose a lot of talent.

    • December 13th 2017 @ 12:21pm
      Sydneysider said | December 13th 2017 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

      Interesting development.

      Now seeing as this 5 team womens comp will run during the Super Rugby competition (between February and June), then it might be possible to contract some of the women’s NRL players and thus they could play both?

      I can’t see why this couldn’t happen as the women’s NRL competition is going to be played in September/October.

      • December 13th 2017 @ 12:30pm
        Working Class Rugger said | December 13th 2017 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

        There could be the potential for crossovers. Certainly wouldn’t begrudge any of them from making the most of both opportunities. Especially if they both evolve into truly professional structures and play at two rather different windows as they are set to be. Question is, what about international play. That’s where it can become tricky.

    • Roar Guru

      December 13th 2017 @ 12:48pm
      DaniE said | December 13th 2017 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

      Fantastic news. Going to spark a lot of action in the club scene as well – sponsors and volunteers will be needed!

    • December 13th 2017 @ 1:09pm
      P2R2 said | December 13th 2017 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

      Where’s the money….?

      • December 13th 2017 @ 1:27pm
        Train Without A Station said | December 13th 2017 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

        I’ve heard from people involved that Buildcorp will be ponying up the dough.

        • Roar Guru

          December 13th 2017 @ 1:39pm
          John R said | December 13th 2017 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

          Makes sense. Good on them if true.

        • December 13th 2017 @ 11:02pm
          deanB said | December 13th 2017 @ 11:02pm | ! Report

          You might be right but this is claiming otherwise. Most amateur professional sporting administration ever.

          • December 14th 2017 @ 10:11am
            noone said | December 14th 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

            Bit hard to disagree with. Looks more like tokenism than equality.
            Dont want to lose female talent to other sports? Best pay them then, same as other sports.
            Maybe females arent considered professional by RA?

            “If you had the opportunity, why would you play rugby for free at the elite level, when you can get a good wage and great conditions playing AFL, soccer, or netball?” (or NRL it appears.)

            I think the W comp is a great plan, who knows, maybe they just forgot to mention any payment…

          • December 14th 2017 @ 7:03pm
            Train Without A Station said | December 14th 2017 @ 7:03pm | ! Report

            That doesn’t really say anything about what is paying for it…

            • December 15th 2017 @ 4:00pm
              noone said | December 15th 2017 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

              It nearly mentions it, “they’re going to cover their costs”…
              Even a small payment for the short season would be a start. Bit of an ask to become professional at a sport if youre busy working.
              Do you think if Mr X dropped a few million as sponsorship maybe it would go to paying the girls, or back in RA’s coffers?

      • December 14th 2017 @ 12:55pm
        simmo said | December 14th 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

        Exactly, show the ladies the money or they will go to other sports.
        Pulver forgot the most important ingredient, doh!