The England women's national rugby union team are a national sporting side of England, representing them at rugby union. The side first played in 1982. England are the current World Cup Champions after beating Canada in the France 2014 World Cup. Their coach is Simon Middleton after their coach Gary Street, who had been head coach since 2006, retired in 2015.
Women’s Rugby was first played seriously in Great Britain in the late 1970s. Early teams were established through the student network and included Keele University, University College of London, Imperial College, York University and St Mary’s Hospital.
Until May 1994 Women’s’ Rugby was run by the Women’s Rugby Football Union (WRFU), formed in 1983. The WRFU was responsible for rugby in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. When the WRFU was formed there were 12 founder teams as members in the first year. These teams included: Leicester Polytechnic, Sheffield University, UCL, University of Keele, Warwick University, Imperial College, Leeds University, Magor Maidens, York University and Loughborough University.
In 1994 the Rugby Football Union for Women (RFUW) was formed in England with each of the Home Nations governing their own countries. The RFUW currently has over 410 Clubs: 170 Senior clubs, 80 student sides, 29 Under 18’s sides, 103 Under 16’s sides, and 40 Schools. These clubs are slotted into regions, these being: North West, North East, Yorkshire & Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, Eastern Counties, London & South East North, South East South, South West (North) and South West (South) There are also 16 Partnership Officers developing girls rugby in their geographical regions.
Until 2009 the badge and logo of England women's national teams was significantly different from that worn by men's teams. However, in 2009 – in anticipation of the merger between the RFU and RFUW – England teams adopted the men's rose.
Many top men’s clubs have had women’s teams from time to time. These have included Wasps, Saracens, Worcester, Rosslyn Park, London Irish, London Welsh, Waterloo, Richmond, Blackheath and Harlequins, but not all of these clubs still field women's sides. One effect of the continued division between RFU and RFUW is that there remains little incentive for clubs to create women's sections, and little encouragement for those that do field women's teams to actively integrate them fully into the host club.
The first women’s International in Great Britain took place when Great Britain played against France in April 1986 at Richmond Athletic Ground, London. France won 14 – 8. Since then Great Britain has played the Netherlands and Italy and taken part in the first European Cup against France, Holland and Italy. Great Britain has not played since they beat Italy in 1990. England first played against Wales on 5 April 1987, when they won 22 – 4 at Pontypool Park, Wales. An England v Wales International has taken place every year since and on all occasions has been won by England.
England have taken part in every Women’s Rugby World Cup competition, winning in 1994 and finishing as runner-up on four other occasions.
The 1995/1996 season saw the introduction of a Home Nations Championship between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, which England won in its inaugural year. England won the Championship every year except from the 1997/98 season when Scotland won it. France joined the competition in the 1998/99 season making it the Five Nations Championship with England achieving the Grand Slam in three successive seasons. In the 2001/02 season, Ireland rejoined the fold in preparation for the World Cup, and the competition expanded to be known as the Six Nations, since when England have never finished lower than runner-up, and have won the title (and Grand Slam) three more times.
N.B. In recent years the England Women's RFU have not entered their first-string XV into the FIRA European championships, and as a result, the WRFU does not include the results of these games in their own first XV's overall statistics. Nevertheless, as most of England's opponents treat FIRA tournament games as full internationals, they are recorded as such in the overall results table below.
For more information on the status of women's rugby internationals see Women's international rugby.
Correct as of 27 November 2016.
Squad to 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup:
See Women's international rugby for information about the status of international games and match numbering.World Cup
1991, 2002, 2006, 2010
Six Nations Championship
1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Grand Slam (12):
1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012
Triple Crown (17):
1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016
1997, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012