This is an amazing feat and I thank John for spearheading this project! You are amazing!
from John Birch:
The result of every women’s rugby international ever played have been traced. Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women’s_international_rugby_union (you may have to copy and paste the link, it doesn’t like the apostrophe) to view the complete and comprehensive list, including at last the results of the 1996 FIRA championship (hitherto even FIRA did not have the information), and Wales’s missing games from 1999.
A few minor matters remain to be traced – a few dates of games here and there (especially games between Russia and Kazakhstan in 1997) and the odd venue – but at last, for the first time, the outcome of all 875 games are now known.
Its taken almost exactly five years to trace the games, a search that began when I went to watch England win the 2006 Six Nations at Old Albanians, and happened to ask how their performance compared with games in the past… and found that no-one knew because there was simply no record of women’s internationals anywhere.
Women’s rugby has a history going back to the late 19th century (see here for details) but it was not until 1982 that the first international fixture (or “Test Match”) took place. The match was organised in connection with the Dutch Rugby Union’s 50th anniversary. As part of the celebrations on June 13, 1982 the French national women’s team was invited to Utrecht to play the Dutch, France winning 4-0 in a game that has since been recognised as the first ever Women’s international rugby union match.
Official recognition of women’s internationals was not immediate. Almost all women’s rugby was originally organised outside of the control of either national unions or the IRB. Partly as a result no internationally agreed list of rugby internationals exists. However, even in the male game, the IRB does not decide which matches are “full internationals” (or “test matches”), leaving such decisions up to participating unions.
As a result one country may classify a match as a full international (and award full test caps) while the opposition may not – countries may even award caps for games against an opposition that is not a national team (World XVs, for example).
International rugby initially grew slowly . Sweden joined France and the Netherlands in 1984, followed by Italy in 1985, but it was not until 1987 that the first international took place outside Europe. However, since 2003 the game has expanded rapidly and now over 50 nations have played at least one “test match”.
Over 800 internationals have now been played. Traditional centres of rugby New Zealand, England and France have been the most successful nations, but they have been joined by a number of “non-traditional” nations who have been almost as successful – such as the USA and Kazakhstan. Unlike men’s rugby, there is no official ranking of women’s teams – generally the IRB refer to the placings in the preceding World Cup. However FIRA compile an annual ranking of European teams and rugby statistician Serge Piquet has produced a currently unofficial, but generally accepted, world ranking list.