SUPER W started small five weeks ago but it could have a big future after key powerbrokers backed calls for an expanded trans-Tasman competition down the line.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
As NSW and Queensland prepare to do battle for the inaugural Super W trophy at Allianz Stadium on Friday, Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby are understood to be open to expanding the women's competition to take to broadcasters as part of Super Rugby negotiations next year.
RA high performance chief Ben Whitaker said the governing body was focused on shoring up the existing five-team, five-week competition for its second outing next year but bringing New Zealand on board was an option.
"If you're building genuine content, which this is, there's no reason why this couldn't be in the [broadcast] mix going forward," Whitaker said.
"We speak to New Zealand quite a bit on women's rugby and there's interest on both sides but there hasn't been any formal chats yet around combining at that sort of level."
Whitaker's comments come as NSW captain Ash Hewson, from Vincentia, and former Australian dual international Tui Ormsby called for Australia and New Zealand to join forces in coming years.
Hewson and Ormsby applauded RA and the state unions for staging the long-awaited women's XVs competition and said trans-Tasman expansion was a logical next step.
"To make the competition a little bit longer, maybe playing each [Australian team] twice and then in the future, which I think would be really great and beneficial to the growth of women’s rugby and the Wallaroos, would be to incorporate the New Zealand teams," Hewson said.
"To be able to play 80 minutes of football against that calibre of team would definitely improve our game and improve our chances of developing a stronger Wallaroos squad."
Ormsby, who played in four World Cups before retiring from club rugby last year and presented the NSW women their jerseys before their first game, said there would be interest on the other side of the ditch.
"I've spoken to girls in the past from the Black Ferns, they've always wanted to play more games," she said. "It's quite unusual that we are so close and haven't had many match-ups."
There is pressure growing in New Zealand for the national union to provide their XVs players with a similar competition to Super W.
The issue came to the fore after the Black Ferns beat a paid England side in the women's World Cup in Ireland last year.
Last month, on the back of that momentum and pressure from the NZ players' association, the NZRU announced modest professional contracts for 30 of the country's top XVs players.
Fox Sports will broadcast the Super W final live from 4.30pm AEST as part of Friday's double header with the Waratahs' home game against the Lions.
Wallaroos coach Dwayne Nestor, who will reap the short-term benefits of Super W's talent identification and playing opportunities, also backed a trans-Tasman future for the competition.
"That would start to lead the world in women’s sport I think," Nestor said.
"That starts to match the women’s Six Nations.
“You get that sort of environment where we’ve got our teams playing and the Kiwi teams. [It's] fantastic for us.
"I just want our girls to play high levels of rugby and if we can be up against the world champs, then our girls are going to benefit from that as well."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.