Macho sport looks to feminine side in women's World Cup
By Andrew Callus
PARIS (Reuters) - It is seen as the ultimate macho sport, but for the 12 captains in Paris on Tuesday at the official launch of the women's World Cup there is much more to rugby than a chance to break a few gender stereotypes.
"There's the challenge of course - it's such a man's game - but it's also just a great sport. There are so many aspects to it," said Kelly Russell, captain of Canada.
"There's physicality, speed, endurance, strength. There aren't many sports where you find all that," Russell told Reuters at launch of the fifth World Cup to be sanctioned by the International Rugby Board (IRB) and seventh in total.
Canada is an established rugby union nation and with men's and women's 7-a-side rugby included in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro the women's game there is edging toward professionalism.
Russell and her team mates are full time players, as are the Australian squad, also thanks to funding linked to Brazil 2016, but others still juggle rugby and professional commitments.
"For me it's the values too," said Spanish captain Ana Maria Aigneren, a Colombian-born physiotherapist who got interested in the game watching her brother play.
"There's discipline, honesty. When you're injured it's real, not like in football."
So how do people react to learn of a woman playing a game labeled as a man's preserve? Continued...