In 2019 World Rugby launched the global Try and Stop Us campaign using the inspirational stories of 15 ‘Unstoppable’ women from around the world. Now, regional associations and member unions have been empowered to search for their own ‘Unstoppables’, with incredible results.
Asia Rugby received applications from 32 countries, including Philippines, Lao, Nepal, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Syria, India, Thailand, Iraq, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Nepal, Iran and Lebanon. In total, 84 applications were received before a 'final 15' is selected.
Asia Rugby "Unstoppable Asia" Campaign— Asia Rugby (@asiarugby) October 29, 2020
As part of the second phase, Asia Rugby has launched the ‘Unstoppable Asia’ Campaign shining the spotlight on stories of remarkable Women in rugby in Asia.https://t.co/A5OhEhikKl pic.twitter.com/ajVy9zA0Vd
India's first Unstoppable was Sweta Shahi, and interest in joining her from across the region has been phenomenal.
Back in May, following a live chat on social media between the country's women’s captain Vahbiz Bharucha and kiwi Unstoppable Stacey Fluhler, the India Rugby Union received 60 applications from women wanting to follow in Shahi's footsteps. The Philippine Rugby Football Union was one of the first worldwide to reveal its own Unstoppable XV and elsewhere similar things have been happening.
You can find out more at asiarugby.com/unstoppable
Rugby Africa received 64 applications from 19 countries and, on 5 October 2020, selected its 12 Unstoppables.
The 12 women represent all corners of the vast continent:
- South (South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe)
- East Africa (Kenya, Madagascar, Uganda)
- West (Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal)
- North A (Tunisia and Egypt).
Oceania Rugby ran 'Women in Rugby month' throughout September with activities happening across eight countries.
These events have included girls-only Get into Rugby festivals, women’s competitions and women’s-only Training & Education sessions, plus online forums, professional development sessions and dedicated communications profiles and posts.
🏉 Oceania Rugby’s Unstoppable Women in Rugby month has been deemed successful, proving to be an exceptional event for Oceania Rugby, celebrating women’s involvement in the game.— Oceania Rugby (@oceaniarugby) September 30, 2020
📝 Read More here: https://t.co/WQGfe6JzE5#WomenInRugby #OceaniaUnstoppable #EqualPlayingField pic.twitter.com/pyItWApV8w
In November Rugby Americas North (RAN) ran its first Unstoppables campaign throughout North America and the Caribbean. The online campaign included three 'Try & Stop Us' online panel discussions and followed off the back of huge recent growth in participation.
Between 2012 and 2019, the number of registered female players in the region rose from 31,000 to 43,000 and in 2019 over 70,000 women and girls took part in Get Into Rugby events put on by the region's member unions.
"It is an incredibly challenging environment for all rugby players around the world," said Katie Sadleir, World Rugby's General Manager for Women's Rugby. "But having something like this campaign really connects people in terms of the values of rugby, the inspirational ambassadors that we're creating through this campaign, which just spur more young girls and boys to be interested in getting involved."