BBC airs its first ever Women’s Rugby Union match

Written by Megan Armitage

The BBC has recently aired Women’s Rugby Union live on their main TV channels for the first time in history.

With the channel airing the last three matches of the Women’s Six Nations, it saw England securing their second successive Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam title.

Speaking to the University of Leicester Women’s Rugby Club, they expressed what it meant for them as a team:

“It feels great! Watching the games inspired us and will inspire the next generation. The women’s game has been neglected for a long time by the mainstream media and it belongs in the spotlight.”

In the past, English fans have only been able to watch women’s rugby on Sky Sports or the YouTube live stream, with Scottish fans watching on BBC ALBA.

With the Men’s Six Nations and 2019 World Cup being shown live on ITV over the past few years, women’s rugby has received little coverage by Britain’s main TV channels.

The women’s game began uncertainly in the 19th Century, amidst scrutiny due to women playing a contact sport. However, over the years it has gained increased media attention in England due to progressive social movement and the success of the Red Roses.

This 2020 Six Nations, the England team has dominated the tournament, finishing with a staggering  points difference of 199. Their rivals France earning second place. With the win over Italy, England won all of their matches, a feat that the men’s English team failed to produce this year.

A big step for women’s sport, airing matches on the BBC will hopefully motivate many more to watch and play Women’s Rugby Union.

“The future is looking bright, it will inspire young girls, which will help improve access to the sport and grassroots,” asserted ULWRFC.

As we see more female led sports make their way into the spotlight and showcase their talent, we can only hope that the BBC continues to air these pivotal moments.

Megan Armitage is a final year English student and the Swim Captain at the University of Leicester. She is currently interested in pursuing a career in Sports Journalism.

Feature image from Unsplash.

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