With the ninth Rugby World Cup approaching, it’s important to consider several factors before predicting a winner. The Cup will be hosted by New Zealand over the September – October period and will mean many things to not only the teams, players and coaches, but also the fans as women’s representation and participation in Women’s World Cup Rugby grows in not only the games, but within the team’s board as well.
The nine qualified teams are as follows:
- New Zealand
- South Africa
Evolution Of The Cup
It’s important to note the significant growth and popularity of women’s rugby. It was recently estimated that 28% of rugby athletes around the world consisted of female players. Due to this growing passion, ambition, and thousands of motivated players, it was recently declared that the number of women’s teams will also increase from 2025 onwards. It’s refreshing to see further developments made towards further equality and opportunities for women in sports. This progress is highlighted even more when remembering times when women in rugby had to completely self-fund to be a part of a team, as Louisa Wall (former rugby player and women’s rights advocate) reminisced. World Rugby is continuing to initiate changes to further improve female representation and presence.
- Coaching Internship Program
- Increasing the number of women on the board
- Increasing female presence and input in committees
Predicting The Winner
You’re never too sure whether the odds will be in your favor. However, with recent initiatives and creativity set forth within the Rugby World Cup, the qualified teams may have a few tricks up their sleeves this year. The new coaching internship, for example, was put into place to enhance female contribution, but the question to be answered is whether the inclusion of former victors and royalty amongst the rugby world will give an advantage to the teams involved and increase their chances of winning.
Whitney Hansen, daughter of former coach Steve Hansen, was announced to become coaching intern to New Zealand’s Black Ferns team. With previous and extensive coaching experience and high involvement in the rugby world, Hanson may very well give the Black Ferns a good chance this year. Not only has the Black Ferns hit the jackpot with its coaching team, players have adopted varied and unique training techniques in hopes to take home the World Cup Trophy.
Players put so much into rugby, from physical training to mental and emotional investment. The phrase “it’s more than just a game” has circulated throughout many sporting competitions and rightly so. Instead of just undergoing basic training methods, many players swear by other enhancing techniques such as visualization. Reputable and talented Black Ferns halfback Kendra Cocksedge has been quoted to integrate this practice, believing that it’s a “big part of winning.” We’ll have to wait and see if aiming high and envisioning what you want will pay off for New Zealand’s team.
England’s intern, Amy Turner, may also provide her team with a fighting chance, having taken home 59 caps (times selected to represent your country) and taken England through to two previous World Cups. The question to ask yourselves now is if Turner’s and England’s grand track record will carry over to this upcoming Cup.
Whether you can predict the outcome of the Women’s Rugby World Cup this year or not, it is exciting to witness the developments made to, not only rugby, but sports in general through the enhancement of female representation and opportunity. The Coaching Internship Program has been highlighted as an important step to furthering equality amongst the board and will potentially give players the upper hand if they’ve landed a reputable, talented coach intern. With their varied techniques and training, it’s tough to decipher which team will take home the trophy, as all have a fighting chance.