Perhaps not as prevalent as the men’s game, the popularity of women’s rugby is growing at a steady rate nonetheless. It’s becoming faster, more skilful and much more of a spectacle to watch, with countries such as Russia, USA and Spain competing at a higher standard than their male counterparts. For an up-to-date lowdown on the best women players in world rugby at the moment across both 7s and 15s platforms, we bring you the Top 5 Women in World Rugby!
1. Jess Breach (England)
A sevens player by trade, Jess made her series debut in June 2017, but since then she has made her presence known in the test arena. She made her debut for England in November 2017 against Canada where she scored a staggering 6 tries to help England to a 79-5 win – quite an impressive way to introduce yourself to the England fans. But what’ll perhaps write her further into England rugby history is that fact she scored with her first touch of the ball in her first time in an England shirt. Jess is also the only England player ever to have scored 6 tries on debut, an impressive feat. You can see all six of the 20 year-old’s tries in the video above.
2. Ellia Green (Australia)
A firm favourite amongst Australian rugby sevens fans, her speed combined with the strength and power she possesses makes her an ideal sevens athlete, allowing her to dominate in all areas of the field. Ellia made her first appearance in the Sydney 7s since rupturing her ACL in the Kitakyushu round last April. She showed no lack of fitness though, scoring five tries on the first day of the Sydney 7s, helping the home nation go unbeaten and top of Pool A. Watch her in action in the Sydney 7s final above!
3. Naya Tapper (USA)
Renown for her sheer size and strength, those who attempt to tackle Naya Tapper most often get shrugged aside. A stalwart in both the 15 and 7-sided game, her sevens background earned her a place in the 2017 Women’s World Cup where she helped USA gain a semi-final spot. Sometime after, she booted up once more and helped her fellow teammates to a modest runners-up position in last year’s Dubai Sevens tournament, where she scored 5 tries on the opening day. Watch the video above to see Tapper in action in the Dubai Sevens tournament.
4. Portia Woodman (New Zealand)
With the World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year 2017 title and 150 tries to her name in the 7s branch, Portia Woodman is undoubtedly the deadliest player in the world of women’s rugby. With the nimblest of footwork and scintillating speed, she’ll punish any team that gives her a yard of space to run into. She’s been first on both 15s and 7s team sheets since making her Black Ferns debut back in 2013. Watch the video above to see the best women’s rugby player in action!
5. Alena Mikhaltsova (Russia)
Russian captain and an all-in-all titan, Alena was given the title of DHL Impact Player in Dubai 2017 for the second year running. In that one competition alone she made 22 tackles, nine line-breaks, the same number of offloads and a massive 21 carries to help her side claim bronze medals. The powerful 24-year old saw her bag her 50th series try during the series. Click above to see the DHL Impact Player get to work!
Seeing these 5 players in action, among many others, shows you just how much a joy it can be to view women’s rugby. So if you’re one who normally just sticks to watching the men play, don’t be afraid to see how capable the ladies are on television and let them show you how it’s done, it won’t take long before you’ll be ruing what you’ve been missing out on! Which women (or men) in rugby have impressed you? Let us know below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. (Check out our Top 5 gym exercises for rugby fitness article!)