African test rugby continues to grow

Zambia and Zimbabwe will play in the Victoria Cup next year in another sign of the growth of women’s rugby in Africa.

Published by John Birch, October 28th, 2023

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African test rugby continues to grow

Last year we asked “What is the best way of developing women’s rugby to international level? Top down or bottom up?”, highlighting the contrasting policies of the African and South American regional confederations.

Perhaps we have a possible answer.

Kenya beat Colombia in WXV3 today, sending Colombia to a relegation playoff against Netherlands and, on the same day, we learnt that the men’s Victoria Cup between Zambia and Zimbabwe is being expanded next year to include women’s matches.

As international tournaments go the Victoria Cup is a relatively minor affair, but the fact that the two unions now feel they have to include their women is another example of how international women’s XVs is growing.

After the brilliant Africa Cup Division 1 in Madagascar earlier this year we are looking forward to Division 2 in Tunisia early in 2024. With this encouragement from Rugby Afrique a growing number of African unions now see the inclusion of women’s test teams in the activities and tournaments as expected and desirable. Zambia and Zimbabwe are just the latest.

Meanwhile in South America there is no sign of any new nations joining Brazil and Colombia on the test circuit. Indeed looking back on our coverage of the game in South America it is striking howlittle seems to have changed since 2016.

So far in the philosophical battle between “Test rugby when they are ready” or “Build it and they will come” the latter seems to be well ahead.