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In early 1980, the fledgling Women’s Committee was folded into USAR and became the USARFU Women’s Committee.

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The 1980’s was notable for the tremendous growth in women’s rugby as well as the formation of the women’s national team and the first women’s international match.

The US National Team came about through the perseverance of the Women’s Committee, notably Diane Terwilliger, Mary Larkin and Marcia Borge.

The inclusion of women’s rugby within established governing structures was a contentious issue throughout the 1980’s.

However, affiliating with established territorial unions provided women with opportunities to participate in regional select side play as well as InterTerritorial Tournaments (ITT’s). The ITT’s eventually became the sole vehicle for selecting the US Women’s National Team. As women’s select side teams became more visible, women coaches and referees became more visible

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Kathy Flores advances the ball against Midlands select side 1985
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WIVERN Daily Mail
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1988 WNT team at Saranac Lake, NY
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1987 First WNT camp at Stanford
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PROGRAM COVERS OF TOURNAMENTS

Given the geographic challenges of the early years, women’s rugby relied heavily on tournaments. Players would drive for hours and play up to 4 matches a day often on different teams. These tournaments helped elevate the overall quality of play as they exposed women’s teams to different levels and styles of play.