Rugby was first reportedly played by women in the Australian towns of Tamworth and Armidale, during the late 1930s. However, the second world war halted play as women were required to work on the land while their men went to war.

Exhibition games were played, notably in the early seventies; one at the TG Millner field in north western Sydney between Eastwood and Sydney University. In 1991 the then Newcastle Rugby Union Executive Director, Wal Fitzgerald, saw the opportunity to revive Women's Rugby, establishing competitions of seven-a-side and touch. However, the rugby a side game remained very much an important component of Women's Rugby's growth worldwide.

Northern Hemisphere

Women's Rugby has been played since the early sixties in the northern hemisphere at Scottish and English universities. It started at Loughborough University in the UK. By 1965, student sides were also formed in French universities and in 1970 a French association, Francais de Rugby Feminine (AFRF) was established and had 26 teams competing by 1972.

America was not far behind Europe. By 1972, student teams were formed in the USA for Colorado, Missouri, Florida and Illinois universities. In 1975, the USA RFU was established for both men's and women's rugby and in 1977 American Women's Rugby teams played exhibition games in the UK.

By the late 1970s, Canadian teams were playing in seven states. Wageningen Women's Rugby was formed in the Netherlands and by 1979, Women's Rugby was also being played in Milan and Treviso in Italy.

In 1980, the Ladies Cup was played in Sweden between Malmo RC and Kalstad, which coincided with the first official Women's Club Championship in the USA.

In 1981 the first women's teams were formed in Japan, also in Wales at Magor and Caerleon resulting in the commencement of the annual Loughborough tournament.

During the 1980s women's national unions started to evolve and were formalised in Italy in 1984, UK in 1983, Canada in 1987 and Japan in 1988. Women's Rugby was also reportedly played in the former Soviet Union in 1989.

International test matches had started and the popularity of Women's rugby was rapidly spreading around the world.

In 1990 the Women's International Rugby Festival held in New Zealand included participants from Japan, Soviet Union, Netherlands, New Zealand and the USA. The first Irish club sides were also formed.

By 1991 the inaugural Women's World Cup was held in Cardiff, Wales. Participating teams came from Canada, England, France, Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Sweden, Spain, New Zealand, USA, USSR and Wales.

The momentum continued with Women's Rugby being revived in Australia, where matches were played in Perth, Sydney and Brisbane.

In 1993, the Australian Women's Rugby Union was established with Joan Forno as president, leading the first test to be layed by the Wallaroos against the New Zealand National Women's team.

In 2000 the South African RFU also integrated Women's Rugby into their program.