Women's rugby

Did you know…

  • More than 18,000 women and girls play rugby regularly in England
  • England Women won the Rugby World Cup in 2014 after beating Canada 21-9 in Paris, France. The victory followed a record-breaking seventh consecutive 6 Nations crown in 2012 as well as the Grand Slam. They also became the first team ever in 6 Nations history not to concede a try

So what about you?

  • Ready to tackle a new sport? Want to get fit? Bored with the gym?
  • Played at university and need to find a club?
  • Want to meet new people and play rugby for fun?
  • Played mini rugby and now can't find a girls team?
  • Want to play a sport at county level?

If you answered YES to any of the above, we are here to help. The Rugby Football Union is responsible for the delivery of the Women’s and Girls’ game in England.

This is England Women's Rugby strategy

As part of its work to grow rugby union in England, the RFU has launched a strategy to take the game to 100,000 women and girls across the country.

Read the RFU's strategy in full online here.

Under 11 girls' participation

Girls aged Under 11 can participate in mixed mini rugby, played within the RFU Continuum. Mini sections can be found at the majority of rugby clubs across the country and will welcome girls. England international Danielle Waterman started playing rugby with her brother at Minehead Barbarians and has now gone on to win more than 50 caps.

Girls' age bands

The U13 girls’ age band is permitted to include U12s and U13s girls. The U15 girls’ age band includes U14s and U15s and the U18 girls’ age band is for U16s, U17s and U18s. Click on the following for further information on the regulations on age bands, in particular regulation 15.

When there are not enough girls at one club to make up a team, many areas now have club clusters, where clubs join up for matches. This ensures girls have the opportunity to play regular competitive matches. Almost all counties have girls’ teams and have trials that are open to anyone.

County players are nominated to trial for the RFU Women’s Divisional Programme. Talented players are identified and U15s and U18s are invited into Talent Development Groups. Successful players will have the opportunity to play for the England U20s.

One player who can speak from experience is England international Fran Matthews. Fran was playing for her club and Surrey as a teenager. She was spotted as a talented player and was subsequently invited to an elite summer camp at Loughborough University. Fran is now playing Premiership rugby for Richmond and striving for further success with England.

Senior women

There are round 250 female senior and university teams affiliated to the RFU, with more than 7,000 women playing regularly.

Most counties now run senior women’s teams, alongside the RFU’s Women’s Divisional Programme, which is part of the Women’s Rugby Player Pathway. That means that if you play for your region, you could be on your way to playing for England.

Lichfield’s Emily Braund worked her way through the player pathway. She was playing Divisional Rugby for the Midlands, and impressed the England coaches enough to make her England debut in the 2012 6 Nations.

However, it’s not all about being the best and playing for England. Rugby is a sociable game; more women are playing because rugby clubs have welcoming, family atmospheres, and the sport is a great way to get fit. Many clubs go on tours to play in tournaments abroad, so it’s also a great excuse to do some travelling.

For information about where to find your nearest club, enter your postcode in the Club Finder, contact your local Women’s Rugby Development Officer. You can also find out more about Establishing a Women’s and Girls section here.