Jennifer Hustwitt & Kira Manser

Women’s Rugby Tackling Connections: The Power of International Interaction

On one side of the scrum is a women’s select rugby team representing Uganda, on the other side, a women’s rugby team from an elite university in the United States. How does this match-up address and highlight the role of women’s sports across cultural and socioeconomic divides? How do international elements of gender, ethnicity, and class relate to the cooperation and competition demanded of women’s rugby? These questions will be examined by drawing from literature on women’s contact sports, ethnographic research on the dynamics of international interactions, and theories of sport and development, ethnicity and gender.

Tackling international connections involves more than a single tackle, scrum or match; it means establishing an initiative that addresses women’s rugby within an international context and bridges personal, athletic, and academic experience. This paper examines the dynamics of a cooperative initiative aimed at enhancing women’s rugby for all of the teams involved. As the referee directs players to “crouch and engage…” the players will essentially be engaging the implications of international cooperation and competition.

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