Saturday, 6 March 2004

Dawn of equality at Murrayfield; Rugby Union.

Lewis Stuart

THE growing integration of men's and women's rugby in Scotland took another step forward yesterday when it was announced that Murrayfield is to become the main home ground for both sexes. The women's team will play four matches there this season, all of them immediately after men's matches on the same pitch.

The women hope that the fans who have brought tickets to the men's match will stay on to support them as well - tickets will cover both matches - and they will not only get a decent crowd but may even make a few converts at the same time. It is all part of a series of moves to merge the male and female games, most dramatically shown by the decision taken at the last annual meeting of the Scottish Rugby Union to give the women representation on the general committee.

The match on November 27 is against the United States, losing finalists when the Women's World Cup was held in Edinburgh ten years ago, which follows the men's match against South Africa. It will be the third time that the women have played at the home of Scottish rugby after matches against Sweden and France last season.

The move to end the segregation that saw the women driven out to play their internationals on club grounds, usually 24 hours after the men, was welcomed yesterday by Donna Kennedy, the most capped woman player. "This is absolutely fantastic news," the back-row player, who has been capped 77 times, said.

"Having the opportunity to play at Murrayfield is awesome. It's recognition that we are not just regarded as a bunch of girls playing on a Sunday afternoon but international athletes. The USA match will be a good contest to raise awareness of the women's game and encourage more women to become involved."

The Times (London, England) (Oct 6, 2004): p73.

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