By in Health & Fitness

Wednesday 29th November 2017

World record attendance expected at The Stoop as Harlequins reignite rivalry with Richmond

Harlequins Rugby have announced their ambition to make history by hosting the biggest-ever crowd at a women’s club game, when their historic rivalry against local adversaries Richmond FC is reignited on Saturday 10 March 2018.

Harlequins Ladies, current leaders of the Tyrrells Premier 15s, are bidding to welcome a world record crowd for a women’s club match and the biggest crowd for a women’s game outside of a Women’s Rugby World Cup Final, at The Stoop. The iconic venue is just across the road from where Harlequins took on Richmond in 1909, in the first-ever rugby match at England’s home of rugby, Twickenham Stadium.

Next year’s fixture will take place just two days after International Women’s Day (Thursday 8 March 2018), and Harlequins Rugby will be supporting the 2018 Press for Progress theme by taking a stand for parity and equality in the world of sport. 

Harlequins Ladies’ captain and Red Rose Rachael Burford said: “This is a real statement of intent by Harlequins Ladies and we’re excited to be part of a club that is moving to increase awareness of the women’s game and challenging perceptions.

“Women’s rugby is a high-quality, action-packed game and we’ve really demonstrated an exceptional standard in the season to date. We’re looking forward to continuing our success and picking up many more fans along the way – and we can’t wait to reignite the rivalry with our neighbours Richmond.

“The match will be like nothing women’s club rugby has ever seen. There was nothing on this scale when we were getting into rugby as girls – the women’s game was very much a distant second to the men’s, but going for a world record attendance on Saturday 10 March represents a real step-change and we’re proud to be setting that standard.”

Women’s sport – and women’s rugby in particular – is currently on an upward trajectory, with record viewing figures for the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup.

Harlequins’ Chief Executive David Ellis said: “Parity is a key focus for us at Harlequins and we are proud to be in a position where we can support both the men’s and women’s teams. With a new chapter beginning in the debut season of the Harlequins Ladies team, we are proud to be playing a key role in the upward trajectory of women’s rugby.

“Our stated aim to host a world-record crowd at the Stoop for the game against Richmond FC ambitious and sends exactly the right message about our support of women’s rugby – and what better match to do this than against our local rivals, a match steeped in history.”

Harlequins Ladies Co-Head Coach Karen Findlay added: “This is a great opportunity to unite all supporters of women’s sport, which is enjoying a massive increase in popularity and support at the moment.

“Our Ladies have had a phenomenal season so far and we’ve been thrilled to see six of our team included in the Red Roses squad for the recent 3-0 series win over Canada more than any other women’s club side.

“We’re calling on the Harlequins family, rugby fans, local families and anyone who wants to show their support for the women’s game to come down to the match on Saturday 10 March. It’s not just about a great day of rugby – it’s about being one big Quins rugby family backing our Quins teams and showing a real commitment to elevate women’s sport. It’s a huge opportunity to show everyone what’s special about this club.” 

As part of the matchday celebrations, Harlequins Rugby will also be celebrating their wider commitment to women’s and girls’ rugby with a pre-match community club tournament, coaching clinics and Switch sessions held by the Harlequins Foundation and dedicated to introducing girls to rugby.

Tickets are priced £10 for adults and £5 for juniors and can be purchased online from tickets.quins.co.uk or by calling the ticket office on 020 8410 6000