A new women’s XVs competition is aiming to provide more chances for women to play all year round.
The Kerry Chikarovski Cup has kicked off with three NSW teams, aligned to NRC franchises - the NSW Country Eagles, Greater Sydney Rams and Sydney Rays - but players are hoping the competition can broaden its horizons.
Though it is not an official concurrent NRC competition, matches held on three weekends will be played as double headers with the men’s NRC, opening up a new platform for women’s players.
Wallaroos prop and Sydney Rays captain Emily Robinson said the tournament was a handy boost at a time of year where rugby games are few and far between.
“It's just really good to have these opportunities now, we don't have to go and look for competitions to play in or we don't have to travel far,” she said.
“It's really good that it's building from club and nationals.”
The 24-year-old hoped the Kerry Chikarovski Cup could be a part of the next wave of women’s XVs growth, with interest from other states.
“They're (the other states) disappointed that they're not in it but at the same time they're excited for us that we get an opportunity,” she said.
“They definitely hope that the competition's expanded and their states are involved as well.
“Just like the nationals, we need as many girls playing as we can to get the best players out there in the tournament.
“This will only build that up and make the top stronger."
NSW Rugby board member Chikarovski, who is supporting the competition financially and donated the trophy, has been a vocal advocate for women’s XVs and was in Ireland for the recent women’s World Cup.
That experience, she said, only cemented her view that women’s XVs players simply needed more chances to play.
“I was so excited at how well they did and how well they played, but it was also very clear that they need more opportunity to play,” she said.
“Obviously they play in the Sydney competition a lot of those girls but there's got to be another step, so this women's NRC is that next step.”
The second round of the Kerry Chikarovski Cup kicks off this weekend, before the final round in Goulburn on October 2.