Like its male counterpart, girls’ rugby is gaining in popularity throughout many UK schools and it has created an interesting question as to which is better: football, or rugby?

If you ask the players, each side will have their own argument for which sport is best. But if you ask school officials, you will likely get an answer siding with girls’ rugby. And why not? The girls enjoy lacing up their boots, donning shoulder pads, taping up their legs and inserting gum shields before taking to the field to run, ruck, tackle and scrum.

Girls’ Rugby Stats

Another nod in girls’ rugby’s favour is that it is one of the UK’s fastest growing female sports, in schools and otherwise, with more than 30,000 women and girls playing regularly. That is twice as many as in 2014 and this trend is going global as World Rugby has seen a 60% increase in participation with females making up just over 25% of all players.

Back to the topic of girls’ rugby in schools. Many of the players say that rugby makes them feel empowered and it helps them to break from the traditional male stereotype of the sport. School officials like it because the sport benefits them physically, mentally and socially, all at the same time. One player stated, “Rugby is also a massive stress reliever for me; it gives me a social and physical platform to clear my head, forget about any worries and reset.” This could be just what many of the UK’s female students need.

But it Still Has Far To Go…!

With any team sport, everyone has each other’s back and the camaraderie can be incredible. True friendships form in school sports programs and girls’ rugby is no different. Although women’s rugby has made a dramatic transformation at all levels, it has taken decades to reach this point. For the sport to continue growing, there is still much to do: schools need to provide girls’ rugby programs, governing bodies need to boost media coverage, and we all need to encourage more girls to play the sport. Rugby’s former “masculine” image is fading and many UK schools are making way for the new future of the sport, one that is based on inclusivity.

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