Wednesday, 4 September 1996

Women's rugby gains a sponsor


HOW appropriate that at a time when players are filling their boots with lolly rugby union should be sponsored by bread.

Not bread, man, to borrow from the terminology of the 1960s, but bread .

. . woman. The Bread for Life campaign is investing [pounds sterling]100,000 in women's rugby over three years, putting its name on the national cup competition and providing funds to promote the game.

This represents bread of heaven, as the rugby anthem goes, to a sport which, while growing at a phenomenal rate in terms of participating numbers, has long fought the dual battle for financial survival and recognition in the most chauvinist of male environments.

Twickenham threw open the doors of its Rose Room for the announcement yesterday but could not resist restricting the space for on-pitch photographs to a tiny corner of a field that for this season, if not forever, might be England, though not Scotland, Wales or Ireland.

`That's as far as they are going,' said RFU marketing employee Gloria Semmitt as the international players perched on the corner of the hallowed ground. Signs declared: `Keep Off The Grass'.

Unlike the Five Nations Championship row, television money is not something likely to split the Rugby Football Union for Women. They receive none and are scarcely in the position to negotiate for any. Their executive are more likely to debate how much each club would receive for taking part in the first round of the Bread for Life Cup. Perhaps [pounds sterling]50.

Another matter to be determined is the venue for the Cup Final scheduled for April 20. `That is nothing new in women's rugby,' said Rosie Golby, RFUW president. A regular home for the match was being sought in South West London. She added: `Sponsorship means we can pay for services rather than rely on the generosity of clubs.'

Source Citation
"Breadline women pick up [pounds sterling]100,000 slice of the action." Daily Mail [London, England] 4 Sept. 1996