March 8 - Women's Rugby players from across the globe have united on International Women's Day to celebrate the inspirational figures that have helped in the development and growth of one of the world's fastest growing team sports.
"Today is all about celebrating women's achievement in Rugby and those who have inspired change," said International Rugby Board (IRB) Women's Development Manager Su Carty.
"We now have more women and girls playing and engaging in the sport than ever before and we have a really exciting opportunity with Women's Rugby World Cup 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016 and 2020 to ensure that women's rugby is at the very forefront of team sport and is seen as an attractive sport to play, through its character-building values.
"I hope that International Women's Day has inspired a new generation of women and young girls to take up rugby and look forward to hopefully seeing them in Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020 and beyond."
International Women's Day caps off a remarkable week for women's rugby following the announcement that Sky Sports has extended its partnership with the IRB giving the organisation the UK broadcasting rights for this year's Women's Rugby World Cup in Paris.
This week also saw Debbie Jevans, chief executive of the 2015 Rugby World Cup organising body, named the most powerful women in British sport by a UK newspaper.
Global participation in women's Rugby has now reached unprecedented levels with numbers breaking the 1.5 million mark for the first time.
Players of all ages are now beginning to get into the sport in record numbers, across all continents, as the clock ticks down to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where rugby sevens is due to make its debut on the Olympic programme.
This year is already on track to be a landmark year on the field with Women's Rugby World Cup 2014 set to showcase the strength of the fifteens games, while the IRB Women's Sevens World Series is inspiring new young audiences around the world with its attractive brand of skill, speed and excitement across five global locations.
Off the field, the IRB's "Get Into Rugby" programme is introducing thousands of girls to rugby in more than 40 countries, female referees, coaches and disciplinary officers are being identified and trained, while high-profile players are pushing the "Keep Rugby Clean" anti-doping message in their role as ambassadors.
This year will also see the IRB recognise those who have excelled on the global stage through the IRB Awards, with inspirational players and pioneers also induced in the IRB Hall of Fall during the 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup in France.
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