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As gender barriers within sports were broken down towards the end of the 20th century it became acceptable for women to play rugby, by the mid-1990’s servicewomen were regularly playing the game and in 1996 their efforts were officially recognised by the Army Rugby Union.

Women’s rugby grew under the guidance of one of its founders Lt Col EE Cunningham, Adjutants General’s Corps (AGC). Success was soon in coming – in 2001 during their tour of Cyprus the Women’s Tens Team lifted the Akrotiri Tens Cup and since then their triumphs on the pitch have continued. Lt Col EE Cunningham retired from the position of ARU (W) Chairwoman at the end of the 2007-08 season.

In 2003 a Women’s Inter-Service Competition was introduced to run alongside the men’s competition that had been in existence since 1920. The inaugural competition was won by the Army who, under the captaincy of Major S Butler, beat both the Royal Navy (35-5) and the Royal Air Force (RAF). Since its inception the Army has dominated the competition beating both Royal Navy and RAF teams in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The women made their first international tour to Canada in 2005 and followed it in 2007 with a tour to New Zealand.

The Corps Competition was extended to include women’s teams in the 2007-08 season and in its inaugural season it was won by the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) women’s team who beat the Army Medical Services team.

Women’s Inter-Services Competition Champions

An official Women’s Inter-Services Competition began in 2003, although a match had been played against a Royal Air Force (RAF) team in 2001 and a Royal Navy team in 2002.

In 2020 the Inter Service competition matches were not played due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

YearChampionsArmy v RNArmy v RAFRN v RAF
2003ArmyArmy 35-5ArmyRoyal Air Force
2004ArmyArmy 39-3Army 17-3Royal Air Force
2005ArmyArmy 61-5Army 34-0Royal Navy 10-5
2006ArmyArmy 47-7Army 38-0Royal Navy 13-5
2007ArmyArmy 36-3Army 36-0Royal Air Force 17-10
2008ArmyArmy 75-0Army 56-0Royal Air Force 23-10
2009ArmyArmy 60-0Army 72-0Royal Air Force 36-0
2010ArmyArmy 25-11Army 35-12Royal Navy 14-11
2011ArmyArmy 52 - 0Army 44 - 10Royal Air Force 26 - 0
2012ArmyArmy 41 - 5Army 24 - 7Royal Navy 7 - 5
2013ArmyArmy 54 - 12Army 62 - 0Royal Navy 10 - 3
2014ArmyArmy 64 - 0Army 93 - 3Royal Navy 17 - 6
2015ArmyArmy 65 - 0Army 51 - 0Royal Air Force 55 - 10
2016ArmyArmy 74-0Army 29-7Royal Air Force 47-0
2017ArmyArmy 95-0Army 35-26Royal Air Force 72-0
2018ArmyArmy 72-3Army 10-0Royal Air Force 53-3
2019Royal Air ForceArmy 48-3Royal Air Force 23-14Royal Air Force 67-3
2020-Match not played due to Covid-19 pandemicMatch not played due to Covid-19 pandemicMatch not played due to Covid-19 pandemic
2021-Match not played due to Covid-19 pandemicMatch not played due to Covid-19 pandemicMatch not played due to Covid-19 pandemic
2022ArmyArmy 68-0Army 24-10Royal Air Force 32-15
2023ArmyArmy 67-5Army 36-8Royal Air Force 17-10
2024ArmyArmy 78-5Army 36-19Royal Air Force 34-12

Women’s International Caps

YearArmy PlayerCountryNo of CapsRegt/Corps
1991S ButlerWales (Capt)29
1994A O'FlynnEngland23
1995J Parke-RobinsonWales13
2007J LeonardEngland9Royal Engineers
2014C MillerWalesAdjutant Generals Corps (Royal Military Police)
2015G RowlandWalesRoyal Artillery
B DaintonWalesRoyal Artillery
B DawsonEnglandAdjutant Generals Corps (Royal Military Police)
2019S MimnaghIrelandAdjutant Generals Corps (Royal Military Police)

Women’s Corps Championship

2011Royal Logistic Corps20Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers10
2012Adjutant Generals Corps17Royal Logistic Corps7
2013Adjutant Generals Corps29Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers10
2015Adjutant Generals Corps37Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers32
2016Royal Engineers / Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers15Adjutant Generals Corps10
2017Royal Engineers / Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers22Adjutant Generals Corps / Intelligence Corps17
2020Combined RLC / R Sigs / RA / AGC28Combined REME / AMS / RE10
2021Competition not played due to Covid-19 pandemic
2022No league competition played
2023Royal Logistic Corps10Royal Artillery6
2024Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers15Royal Logistic Corps12