Parliamentary Rugby League Group discusses Women’s Rugby League as season launch approaches
Last night (26 March), a packed meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group in Westminster discussed the development of the game for women and girls.
St Helens and England player and Rugby League World Cup 2021 Ambassador Jodie Cunningham, Leeds Rhinos and England player Danika Priim, and York City Knights coach and women’s rugby league campaigner Kay Rollinson made a presentation to Members of Parliament, Peers, honorary and associate members of the Group.
The focus was on the forthcoming launch of the 2019 Women’s Rugby League season, which will see three domestic competitions kicking off on 7 April. The Women’s Super League has grown to eight teams, with a further eight teams in the Championship and nine in League 1. Finals will be held at Headingley Stadium on 13 October, whilst the Challenge Cup will take place alongside the league competitions, culminating in a final as part of a triple header event alongside the men’s semi-finals at the University of Bolton Stadium on 27 July.
Since the advent of the Women’s Super League in 2017, the girls’ game has grown at 30% each year, and the first ever Women’s Masters Rugby League game was recently played between York Lokos and West Yorkshire in York.
At the meeting, there was also discussion of what more can be done to support the development of women and girls’ rugby league, including details of an RFL campaign that will be announced at the Women’s Rugby League 2019 season launch on 30 March.
Following the meeting, All-Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group Chair and Member of Parliament for Bradford South, Judith Cummins MP, said “the profile and reach of women and girls’ rugby league has grown hugely in recent years, particularly as a result of the introduction of the Women’s Super League, and I congratulate all involved, and especially the RFL, for their efforts.
“There is, however, more to be done to ensure that as many women and girls as possible have the opportunity to participate in one of the different formats of rugby league on offer across the country, and I look forward to continuing to work with others to promote the women and girls game as we build towards the Rugby League World Cup 2021 in England.”
St Helens and England player and Rugby League World Cup 2021 Ambassador Jodie Cunningham said “women’s rugby league has experienced rapid growth in the past few years, and as a player, there has never been a better time to get involved.
“The Rugby League World Cup 2021 presents a significant opportunity to further build the profile of the women’s game, and I’m sure that by working together, we can capitalise on that.”
Leeds Rhinos and England player Danika Priim said “it’s great that the introduction of the Women’s Super League has had such a positive impact for women and girls’ rugby league.
“I’m looking forward to another fantastic season, and hope that we can inspire even more women and girls to get involved in the game.”
York City Knights coach Kay Rollinson said “it was a pleasure to discuss my experiences of rugby league in Parliament, as the women and girls’ game continues to develop.
“I encourage all women and girls to consider one of the many opportunities to take part in the sport – whether touch or tag, Masters or 13-a-side rugby league, there is a format of the game for everyone to keep fit and have fun.”