The first official Women's Rugby World Cup was held in 1998. Prior to the one officially sanctioned by the International Rugby Board there had been three tournaments of a similar nature. The first of these was an event held in August 1990 in New Zealand. Though not considered a world cup, the tournament was referred to as the World Rugby Festival for Women. The competition included teams representing the United States, the Netherlands, Russia, and the hosts. New Zealand won defeating the United States in the final.
The first tournament referred to as the Women's Rugby World Cup was held in 1991 and hosted by Wales. Twelve countries were divided into four groups of three. The United States, against expectations, took the first championship with a 19-6 victory over England. In the Plate competition Canada beat Spain 18-4. Following this tournament it was decided to move the tournament schedule to the year prior to the next men's world cup therefore the next was held in 1994. This event was originally scheduled to take place in Amsterdam but ended up being moved to Scotland. Eleven countries competed in the tournament with the English meeting the United States in the final for the second time however, in this instance England emerged as winners.
1998 to 2006
The 1998 tournament became the first women's world cup officially sanctioned by the International Rugby Board. Amsterdam, who were originally scheduled to host the previous world cup, hosted the largest ever tournament with all matches played at the new National Rugby Centre in the city’s west end. The tournament also saw a record sixteen teams compete. New Zealand, who withdrew from the previous tournament, also competed. The final saw New Zealand defeat the United States and claim their first world cup title. The next event was taken to Spain in 2002, where New Zealand, won the title for the second time. The 2006 world cup took place in Edmonton, Canada, and was the first major international rugby union tournament and women's world cup held in North America. New Zealand defeated England in the final to win their third successive world cup title.
In 2008 a record four countries expressed interest in hosting the 2010 world cup. After considering bids from the Rugby Football Union, the German Rugby Federation, the Kazakhstan Rugby Union and South African Rugby Union the IRB announced that the 2010 event would take place in England. The Rugby Football Union for Women (RFUW) then announced that the tournament is to be staged in west London, with the final to be played at The Stoop, the home of Harlequins. The event was an huge success with record crowds at the Surry Sports Complex in Guildford and a sell out finals day at the Twickenham Stoop.
1991 host Wales, winner United States 19-6 England, France shared third with New Zealand
1994 host Scotland, winner England 38-23 United States 3rd & 4th France 27-0 Wales
1998 host Netherlands, winner New Zealand 44-12 United States, 3rd & 4th England 31-15 Canada
2002 hosts Spain, winner New Zealand 19-9 England, 3rd & 4th France 41-7 Canada
2006 hosts Canada winner New Zealand 25-17 England, 3rd & 4th France 17-8 Canada
2010 hosts England winner New Zealand 13-10 England, 3rd & 4th Australia 22-8 France
Learn more at the WRWC Website