Wales women made history in their first ever clash with the Barbarians. Despite falling to a 29-15 loss, the match, which was played infront of 12,643 spectators at the Principality Stadium, should be used as a platform for further exposure.
Historical moment must be followed up upon
Wales cannot allow this platform of exposure to slip and must make it pay dividends in the near future. Welsh women’s rugby is on a rise, with increases in participation and spectating.
Playing in front of 12,643 fans in the national stadium is always going to be a pleasure, but the WRU have to ensure this is the precedent set and not just a token gesture.
Women’s rugby has a real opportunity to climb up the ladder and with so many new faces involved in this autumn series and a progression of performances it’s an ideal time to carry this through to not only the Six Nations, but the 2021 and 2025 World Cup’s.
Wales may not have a fully professional outfit to work with, and may not be able to fully fund that structure as it stands, but what the WRU can do is utilise the rise in popularity of the women’s game.
The introduction of girls’ hubs has seen popularity and participation rise, but the Merit Table for senior women’s rugby struggles for any meaning and having meaningful, competitive fixtures is vital to expand any game.
Wales women on upward trajectory
Despite the loss, this autumn has been firmly billed around building for the future. Chris Horsman and his team have done just that.
They wanted to leave themselves in a better position than they were in heading into the autumn series and having played several testing ties, with plenty of debutants, Wales can look forward to a better generation of women’s rugby to come.
They may not have the financial resources to compete with other nations, but if they keep developing the depth and leadership that they have this autumn then they’ll move upwards in the ranks of women’s rugby.
The Barbarians test may have been a one off showstopper, but the effects should be much more long-lasting.
“Main photo credit”