Exhibition celebrating the history of women’s Rugby World Cups to launch at the World Rugby Museum

An exhibition celebrating the history of women's Rugby World Cups will launch at the World Rugby Museum based at Twickenham Stadium on Wednesday (16 March).

'The Rugby World Cup: In Her Own Words' explores the story of the eight World Cups for women so far, from 1991 in Wales to 2017 in Ireland, and looks ahead to the delayed 2021 event being held in New Zealand later this year.

Through written history, quotes from players from down through the years, moving footage and memorabilia like shirts and medals, the exhibition will run right through to the end of the year.

Another star object includes the original Rugby World Cup trophy, which will go on display for the first time after being missing for more than 15 years.

The exhibition has been curated as a partnership between the Museum itself, Ali Donnelly the founder of women's rugby website Scrumqueens.com and Dr Lydia Furse, an expert on the history of the game.

The exhibition celebrates the early pioneers of women's rugby as well as the progress the women's game has made since the first World Cup in 1991, where organisers were volunteers and players all paid their own way to compete.

It also looks at the evolution of the sport into a more professional game, with contracted players attracting major crowds and broadcast deals.

The exhibition will increase knowledge of the growth of women's rugby and generate interest ahead of the Rugby World Cup later this year in New Zealand where the Black Ferns will be defending their title on home turf.

Dr Lydia Furse, now Education and Community Outreach Officer at the World Rugby Museum, said: "The World Rugby Museum is proud to promote women's rugby within the permanent exhibitions and to take this additional opportunity to shine a light on the fantastic heritage of the Women's Rugby World Cups in the build up to the delayed RWC 2021."

Ali Donnelly, founder of Scrumqueens said: "Preserving and showcasing the history of women's rugby is hugely important and this exhibition will play an exciting part in doing that in such a big year for the sport. With the Rugby World Cup just a few months away, this is a great place for people to find out more about the amazing people behind the early competitions and to explore how much the game has grown since. It's great to have been able to support the exhibition."

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