Pay will come in rugby's Super W: players

Super W rugby captains have high hopes for the sport and are willing to play without pay.
Super W rugby captains have high hopes for the sport and are willing to play without pay.

They might not be getting paid, but Super W players believe the new competition will prove popular enough that Australia's stars of the future will be.

The stunning rise of women's sport at a domestic level in Australia prompted the hasty creation of the five-team Super W, which kicks off its inaugural season this weekend.

There are high hopes it can become the backbone of the Wallaroos' program heading into the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup, which Australia is bidding to host.

However, unlike in other codes, Super W players will not be paid this season.

The hope is it will follow the National Rugby Championship (NRC), which also didn't offer match payments in its first season but does these days to the tune of $1500.

And NSW Waratahs skipper Emily Robinson reckons the sponsors and supporters will jump on board once they see it.

"When everyone sees the quality of rugby we're playing, more people will get involved," Robinson said.

"We've always done it for the love of rugby - we wouldn't be here if we didn't.

"We're really happy we get this opportunity and we get to be the first ones to do it."

Robinson, who made her Wallaroos' debut in 2016 and started playing rugby at the age of nine, had long dreamed of a competition like this.

"I slept with a rugby ball every night instead of a teddy bear," she said.

"My dad played soccer his whole life so it was a bit out of the blue but I loved it. I had fun doing it.

"I didn't ever think that, because you're a girl, you couldn't do it. The nine-year-old me is pretty excited.

"She'll be throwing some yahoos out on Saturday night, no doubt."

Super W will run for seven weeks and includes the four men's Super Rugby franchises plus the Western Force.

Australian Associated Press