The 6 Nations Council today confirmed its continued support for the present format of the Women’s 6 Nations Championship following a debate about its future.
At today’s meeting, where proposed drastic changes to the Championship were up for discussion, the 6 Nations Council also elected Roger Lewis, Chief Executive of the Welsh Rugby Union as the new Chair of the Six Nations Women’s Game Sub-Committee.
Roger Lewis said “I am delighted to accept this position. We will now positively harness the energy that has been generated by the recent debate and together take Women’s Six Nations rugby forward."
Support for a proposal to split the tournament in two, had dramatically thinned following a lobbying campaign directed to the Welsh and Scottish unions, who had been the main drivers of change.
Directions made to the CEOs of both unions (Roger Lewis at the WRU and Mark Dobson at the SRU) from those involved in the women’s game at grassroots level plus a raft of politicians as well as coverage in both Wales, Scotland and Ireland, however raised the red flag for the proposals while a strong Twitter campaign using #backthegirls also generated lots of support from international players and fans around the world.
Ireland's Grand Slam winning captain Fiona Coghlan was also vocal in her opposition to the plans.
The news is fantastic for all those involved in the game and Scrumqueens.com thanks all of those who worked so hard behind the scenes in recent weeks to ensure that the leading international women’s tournament outside of the World Cup retains its hugely important status.
The news was also welcomed today by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Sport (co-chaired by Baroness (Tanni) Grey-Thompson and Barbara Keeley MP), and the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation, who wrote to the CEOs of the English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish rugby unions last week asking them to reject the reported proposals.
Commenting, Co-Chair of the APPG on Women’s Sport and Fitness, Barbara Keeley MP said:
“This is a great decision which safeguards the Six Nations as the biggest annual tournament in women’s rugby. Downgrading the tournament would have been a blow both to the players and to all of the young women who grow up dreaming of representing their country at a national level. All those who spoke up against the proposals should be proud of what they achieve.”
Chief Executive of the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation, Sue Tibballs said:
“We are obviously delighted that the RBS Six Nations tournament can now continue to provide the exhilarating and entertaining rugby which is helping to establish its place in the hearts of sports fans. While we thank the Six Nations Council for making the right decision today, it is very concerning that the proposal even got this far. It is a sign that despite the progress women’s sport made during the Olympics and Paralympics last year, many women’s tournaments are vulnerable and there is still work to be done to ensure their potential is maximised.”