This weekend, before most have had their breakfast, England’s brilliant women’s rugby team will have appeared in another World Cup Final.
It will be their sixth in a row and will see them face formidable opposition in the form of a New Zealand side who’ve been playing terrifically exciting rugby over the last six weeks.
If you don’t know much about this England team, it is worth saying that they are absolutely remarkable.
Their semi-final win over Canada was their 30th test win a row, a world-record breaking feat in the men’s or women’s game, and a run they’ll be desperate to continue.
Growing the game
As long-time supporters of women and girls’ rugby, Sport England has taken great pride in the growth of both the elite and the grassroots game here.
And with the next women’s World Cup taking place here in less than three years’ time, the success of the national team is also providing a vital surge in interest that’s demonstrably translating to the growth of the community game.
Over the past five years, the number of adult women playing rugby has grown from 25,000 to 40,000 in England and the Rugby Football Union (RFU) has ambitious targets as part of its Every Rose strategy to grow the numbers to 100,000 by 2027.
Sport England has, of course, backed and supported rugby union at grassroots level for decades, with investment of more than £70 million in the sport’s infrastructure over the last ten years or so to make sure there are clubs, pitches, coaches and changing facilities of good quality for everyone playing the sport.
And we have also specifically supported the women and girls’ game, recognising its impressive growth trajectory and that, as an activity that provides an outlet for participants of all shapes and sizes, it represents an important investment.