Quins hope to break their own record for the highest attendance for a women’s club rugby match in the UK this weekend
Harlequins chasing record women’s crowd for The Game Changer
This is something of a boom time for women’s sport. New attendance records were set during the Women’s Six Nations – the 10,000-plus crowd at Exeter’s Sandy Park for England v Italy the most notable – while Europe’s big football stadiums have been packed with fans watching women’s matches in recent weeks.
Now Harlequins are hoping to break their own record for the highest attendance for a women’s club rugby match in the UK.
They drew a crowd of 4,542 to their Tyrrells Premier 15s match against Richmond at the Stoop last year and are hoping to attract even more for Saturday’s match against Gloucester-Hartpury, which has been billed as ‘The Game Changer’.
As well as the match itself, there will be plenty of other things happening around the stadium – British Rowing strength tests and a bouncy castle among others. Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for juniors, and you can buy them here.
Harlequins had a host of players involved in England’s Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam and they will be looking to take that form into this final game of the Premier 15s regular season. Quins may have already booked their place in the semi-finals, but that has not dampened their competitive instincts.
“It goes to show the development of the domestic game in women’s rugby,” says Quins and England prop Vickii Cornborough, who is now a full-time player. “I’ve come out of England camp and the Six Nations competition, and straight back into the Tyrrells league and an elite training environment.
“I’ve gone from one competitive scenario to another and we can keep up the intensity of training. We’re all focused on finishing the season on a massive high.”
Quins reached the Premier 15s final last year, but lost to Saracens. Those two teams are leading the way in the league again and Cornborough is keen to build up for the knockout phase with a big performance at the Stoop, where she loves playing.
“At Quins we have great supporters, both at the Stoop and Surrey Sports Park,” she says. “The Stoop is a magic place to come for us. You can hear the supporters getting behind you.
“We can keep that momentum from the Six Nations and the great crowds we managed to attract. The Game Changer is really exciting and we’re looking to break the record again.
“It’s a chance to showcase a really exciting brand of rugby. We have a fantastic set of forwards and phenomenal backs, so we’re ticking all the boxes for supporters. It’s a great showcase for us to play exciting, running rugby.”
Another big crowd at the Stoop will show how much women’s sport is growing.
Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.