New rugby union competition for women in Australia


Sydney (AFP)

A new five-team women's competition will kick off early next year, Rugby Australia said on Wednesday, building on the fast-growing momentum for female sports throughout the country.

The Super W league, over six weeks and featuring sides from Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Western Australia, will begin in March.

It follows moves by the National Rugby League, Australian Football League, Cricket Australia and Football Federation Australia, among others, to institute women's competitions as female participation soars.

"The Australian rugby community has been incredibly proud of the growth of the women's game in recent times and I know that this crucial competition is going to supercharge this growth in future years," said outgoing Rugby Australia chief Bill Pulver.

In a sign of the times, Pulver is being replaced by a woman, Raelene Castle, who will become the first female to oversee the sport anywhere in the world.

Pulver said the Super W competition would provide greater opportunity for players, lift playing standards and redefine the pathway to the Wallaroos national team.

"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," he said.