Led by Canterbury of New Zealand and the IRFU, this is a response to players who shared the collective concern about playing in white rugby kit during their period. 'The top way to ensure we perform to our best on the field is by removing any unnecessary distractions,' said Ireland International, Enya Breen. 'Wearing navy shorts instead of white is such a small thing, but for us it's a big step from Canterbury and the IRFU.'
She added: 'This will remove the stress of worrying about being on your period while you’re playing in a match. Our hope is that it will help women at all levels of rugby feel more comfortable on the field so they can get on with performing at their best in the game that they love.'
Stella Mills, a freelance sports broadcaster and journalist, agrees this is a big step in the women's rugby space. 'Women’s rugby is the fastest growing sport for a reason, participation levels are climbing but we need to ensure the numbers keep growing and this starts with ensuring players, from grassroots right through to the elite level, feel comfortable in the kit they are wearing.'
Victoria Rush, director of the film No Women No Try, added that as women comes a multitude of reasons not to play rugby in the first place. 'This decision by Canterbury and the IRFU is a first step in a much more important conversation about choice for women in sport,' she said. 'It shows how brands, clubs and governing bodies can make sure that every woman on the pitch feels comfortable, heard and respected.'
It's not just for the pro players, either. Canterbury is also offering other teams and players at all levels, who have previously purchased Canterbury white women’s shorts, the chance to claim a free pair in a different colour.
To reiterate, this decision isn't just about the colour of the shorts, rather levelling the playing field to ensure the comfort and respect of the players. The new shorts will by worn by the team for the duration of the Six Nations, which begins on Saturday 25th March.
You can read more about The Gender Play Gap here...
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