18 Best Female Rugby Players Of All Time
The world of rugby is one that can be tough to break into. Even if you’re a great player and have the physical attributes to do so, there’s still a lot of competition out there and it can seem like an uphill battle.
The best female rugby players in the world are some of the most inspiring and incredible women on the planet.
They are fierce competitors, but they also know how to have fun and make sure they’re always giving their all.
Here are 18 of the best female rugby players in the world today:
18 Best Female Rugby Players
A lot of good female rugby players are out there, but these 18 are some of the best.
They’re not just talented – they’re also inspiring and motivating.
If you’re a rugby fan or looking for some inspiration to get started in this sport, you might want to check them out!
These 18 female rugby players are making waves in their respective positions.
1. Natasha Hunt
Natasha Hunt is a British rugby union player who currently plays for the England women’s national team as a scrum half.
She was born on March 21 1989, in Gloucester, England.
Natasha began playing rugby when she was only 17 years old, and she has since gone on to become one of the best female rugby players in the world.
In 2014, she made her mark on the international stage and helped lead England to multiple victories and championships.
Natasha has also won a bronze Commonwealth Games medal for 7s.
Her achievements include:
- RBS 6 Nations Rugby Women’s winner 2012
- Women’s rugby 7s world tournament winner
- 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup
Hence, without a doubt, Natasha Hunt is one of the most successful female rugby players in the history of the sport, and she has been a dominant force in the women’s game since her debut in 2014.
2. Portia Woodman
Portia Woodman is a New Zealand rugby union player and one of the world’s best female rugby players.
The 5’7 rugby union player was born on July 12 1991.
She has been playing rugby since she was young and has won many awards over the years.
Portia was named World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year in 2015.
She was a member of the New Zealand Sevens team in 2016 and was the top try scorer, scoring ten tries over the three-day tournament.
She was also a member of the New Zealand Sevens team that won gold in the Tokyo Olympics in July 2021.
Portia has been named to the Black Ferns Sevens squad for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022. She took bronze in the competition.
She was also a member of the team that took silver in the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town.
Portia became the first woman to score 200 tries in the Sevens Series in 2022.
3. Emily Scarratt
Emily Scarratt is another great rugby player for sure.
She plays centre and fullback for England Women’s national rugby union team and for Loughborough Lightning.
The 5’11” rugby player was born on February 8 1990, in Leicestershire, England.
Emily was named the World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year in 2013 and held the record for most points scored by an England player, with over 1,000 points in international matches.
She’s won many awards for her play, including being named 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup winner, 2014 WRWC Dream Team, 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, 2019 Rugby Union World Player of the Year, and 2020 Women’s Six Nations Player of the Championship.
Emily became the Red Roses’ highest-scoring player in the 2020 Six Nations.
All these awards and achievements make Emily one of the best female rugby players.
4. Rochelle Clark
Rochelle Clark is a retired English rugby union player for Saracens. She’s one of the best female rugby players in the world, and she has been since her professional playing debut in 2003.
She has been playing since the age of 9, and she’s been on her country’s national team since 2003. Clark was an incredible athlete in school, and it didn’t take long for her to make it onto the field!
Clark is known for her physical strength – she can do things most people wouldn’t be able to do with ease. She’s also fast, making her a great asset in any game situation.
Her achievements include being the most capped player in England’s international history and having won seven Six Nations titles.
Clark is an all-around player who can play prop or hooker with equal skill and ease. She’s known for her strong tackling ability and has been called “a game changer” by her teammates.
Clark also plays well at scrum time – she’s got great balance and excellent ball retention skills.
5. Charlotte Caslick
Charlotte Caslick is one of Australia’s most famous rugby players, and she’s made a name for herself by being one of the best in the world at what she does.
She was born in Brisbane on March 9 1995 and started playing for Australia at 19 years old. Charlotte has a long list of achievements, including being named player of the series at the National Youth Championships in 2012.
She has been named World Rugby sevens player of the year for two consecutive years.
Charlotte has won the Shawn Mackay Award three times (2016, 2019, 2021) and multiple Impact Player Awards during the HSBC World Series.
She is also one of the most popular players on social media, with over 130k followers on Instagram and Twitter.
6. Katherine Merchant
Katherine Merchant is a female rugby union player from England. She was born in Brighton, England, on October 29, 1985.
She played 58 times for her country and scored 44 tries. In 2007, she earned a bachelor’s degree in sports and exercise science from Birmingham University.
Katherine is a versatile player who can play at the center or on the wing. Her speed and athleticism allow her to make unexpected moves that are hard to defend against, while her size allows her to hold up defenders when they try to tackle her.
She represented England in the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup and was named to the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup squad.
Katherine was also a member of the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens squad.
After England won the World Cup in 2014, Merchant retired from rugby at the age of 28 due to medical advice regarding the long-term effects of concussion.
7. Magali Harvey
Magali Harvey is one of the best female rugby players in the world. She also won a gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games.
She began playing rugby at the age of 16.
Harvey is known for her speed and agility, making her a formidable pitch defender. She can get to the ball before any other player on either team, thanks to her quickness and agility. She is also known for her ability to make an impact at any point during a game.
Harvey has also represented her country in the fifteens and was a key factor in Canada finishing second at the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup.
She was named the IRB Women’s Player of the Year in 2014.
Harvey represented Canada in the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2014. She was the first Canadian to win the IRB Women’s Player of the Year award in 2014.
She also won a gold medal with the Canadian women’s rugby sevens team at the 2015 Pan American Games.
8. Cheryl Soon
Cheryl Soon is a former professional rugby player and one of the best in the world.
She was born on September 23 1975, in Auckland, New Zealand.
Cheryl started playing rugby at age 16 and has been playing ever since.
Cheryl was a member of the Wallaroos squads for the 2002 and 2006 Rugby World Cups. She was also a member of the 2010 Rugby World Cup squad, which finished third.
The Australian women’s sevens team, led by McAfee, went on to win the inaugural 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens. In 2012, she became a member of the IRB Rugby Committee.
Cheryl Soon is one of the best rugby players in the world because she’s incredibly strong, fast, and agile-and she can tackle like nobody’s business. She’s also a brilliant leader on the field and has the ability to inspire her teammates with her energy and enthusiasm.
9. Carol Isherwood
Carol Isherwood is a retired female rugby union player who played for England and the British Lionesses.
She is known for her speed, skill, and leadership skills on the field. She first started playing rugby at age 14 and has been playing ever since.
Carol, who was born in Leigh, had previously participated in hockey and judo before beginning rugby at the age of 20.
She was the first woman in England to receive an L3 coaching award and served as the performance director for women’s rugby.
Carol Isherwood is one of the best female rugby players in history. She is famous for her career as a rugby union player and coach.
Her achievements include being named IRB Women’s Personality of the Year award in 2008 and Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.
Carol not only captained the GB team but also handled logistics, such as organising coaches, the stadium, and the media.
Carol earned a total of 15 caps, appearing eight times for Great Britain and seven times for England, including the first World Cup final in 1991.
10. Anna Richards
Several players have been named the best female rugby player, but Anna Richards stands out as the greatest of all time.
Richards is the head coach of the Hong Kong women’s sevens team and was one of the first female players inducted into the World Rugby’s Hall of Fame.
She became interested in rugby while attending Canterbury University in New Zealand.
Richards was inducted into the Rugby Hall of Fame in 2014 and continues to coach to this day.
She is the first professional coach to take charge of the ambitious Asian team, and her charges have improved significantly in the last year.
She played for New Zealand in four World Cups, in 1998, 2002, 2006, and 2010.
As of January 2023, she is the women’s player development manager at Auckland Rugby.
11. Ana Poghosian
Ana Poghosian is a well-known and highly accomplished female rugby player. She has been playing the sport since she was a teenager and has been an active member of the international rugby community for over 15 years.
Even though female rugby is less developed in Georgia, Ana Poghosian has overcome obstacles to become a rugby powerhouse and captain of the Women’s National Sevens Team.
Poghosian is known for her speed and agility on the field but also for her ability to create opportunities for herself.
She is a strong runner with good ball-handling skills that allow her to make openings for herself by running down balls or putting pressure on other players with her quickness.
UN Women awarded a special prize to Ana for two years in a row. She is, without a doubt, a role model for all women.
12. Kendra Cocksedge
Kendra Cocksedge is another great rugby union player. She plays for the Black Ferns and Canterbury. She was born on July 1 1988, in New Plymouth, New Zealand.
Kendra Cocksedge is known as one of the best players in the world and has been nominated for multiple awards, such as World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year in 2015, New Zealand Rugby Women’s Player of the Year in 2015, the Farah Palmer Cup Player of the Year in 2020.
Cocksedge, the Black Ferns’ backline player with the most experience, made her Test debut at the age of 19 in 2007.
The main thing that makes Kendra Cocksedge such a great player is her versatility. She can play just about anywhere on the field and is good at it.
She’s got great ball skills, solid tackling ability, and good speed. Plus, she’s known for her leadership skills as well as her play on the field.
At the New Zealand Rugby Awards in 2018, she became the first female athlete to take home the Kelvin Tremain Memorial Trophy as the country’s best rugby player.
13. Margaret Alphonsi
Maggie Alphonsi is well-known for her rugby career as a former flanker for Saracens and the England rugby team.
Maggie has 74 caps and 28 tries for Saracens and the England national team.
She made headlines throughout her playing career, being inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame and winning the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year award in 2010.
Maggie won numerous championships while she was a player, including seven straight Six Nations titles, the 2014 Rugby World Cup title, and the Pat Marshall Award from the Rugby Union Writers Club.
Maggie has consistently served as a prominent example of a successful player, making her a truly inspirational figure in sports.
She is the definition of grit and perseverance-she helped her team win consecutive games and was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame.
14. Jillion Potter
Jillion Potter is an American rugby player who is a member of the US national rugby sevens team.
She was born on May 7 1986, in Austin, Texas.
Potter made her Eagles debut in 2006 and has competed in the Rugby World Cup, Women’s Rugby World Cup, and Olympic Games.
She was a University of New Mexico student when she became enthralled by a sport she had no idea existed.
Potter has an incredible physical presence on the field and can be a game-changer, especially when it comes to running with the ball in hand. She’s also a great passer of the ball and has an eye for scoring tries.
Over the past six years, Potter has played a significant role for the Eagles Sevens team, helping the group to bronze at the 2016 Summer Olympics and a sixth-place finish at the 2018 Rugby World Cup.
15. Niamh Briggs
A native of Ireland, Niamh Briggs is one of the most successful rugby players in the world – and also one of the best female rugby players.
She was born on September 30 1984.
Niamah is known for her speed and agility on the pitch, which she uses to get past defenders and score points for her team.
She’s been playing since she was six years old and had a career playing for both Ireland and Leinster.
Niamah is a big fan of helping out with coaching younger players, and she’s known as an incredibly talented ball carrier.
In February 2022, Niamh Briggs was named Assistant Coach.
With 62 caps for Ireland under his belt and key roles in two Six Nations championship teams, including one as captain, Briggs brings a wealth of knowledge and rugby expertise to the job.
The reason she’s one of the best rugby players? Her fearless on-field presence, coupled with her leadership skills and ability to make quick decisions under pressure.
16. Alev Kelter
Alev Kelter, a former collegiate hockey player, switched to rugby much later but quickly made up for lost time.
She was born on March 21 1991, in Tampa, Fla. Alev received a full Division I scholarship to attend the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she participated in both soccer and hockey.
She not only participated in sports but also obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture and glassblowing.
She accompanied the Women’s Eagles to the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland in 2017, where she contributed to the team’s incredible fourth-place finish before switching back to sevens.
In 2018–19, Alev served as the team captain for the USA Women’s Rugby 7’s team, and in 2020, she was the top scorer globally.
Alev is the most capped (number of internal matches played) American female rugby player to date. She hasn’t missed an international competition since making her debut in 2014.
17. Ruby Tui
Ruby Tui is a New Zealand-born rugby player. She plays for the Black Ferns and the New Zealand Maori women’s teams.
A powerful and aggressive prop who can break through any defensive line, Ruby Tui is a force to be reckoned with.
She’s an excellent all-around player who has been called “the backbone of her team.
Ruby was born in Wellington, New Zealand, on
December 13 1991.
She attended John Paul II High School in Greymouth before going on to study at Aoraki Polytechnic in 2013, where she completed a Diploma in Sports.
Ruby is known for her speed and agility in the scrum, as well as her power.
She made her sevens debut in Fiji in 2012 and has been with the national team ever since.
Ruby won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics and a Rugby World Cup Sevens title in 2018. In 2017, she was named Black Ferns Sevens Player of the Year; in 2019, she was named World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year. She went on to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
18. Ellie Boatman
Ellie Boatman is one of the best female rugby players in the world – but she’s not just good because she’s been playing for years. She’s great at rugby because she puts in the work to get better.
She was born on May 13 1997.
Ellie attended the University of Southampton; her friend was captain of the women’s rugby team at the time, and she persuaded Ellie to play a game for the Uni team.
Ellie and her friend both scored hat tricks, and the buzz she hadn’t felt in a long time was incredible.
She then began playing for the local Southampton club, ‘ Trojan,’ which has a very good women’s rugby team, and she rediscovered her love for rugby.
Ellie was selected to play for England in the rugby sevens competition at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Ellie has always been extremely competitive. This sport suits her personality and style of play. Hence, Ellie quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the best female rugby players in England.
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Female rugby players are some of the world’s toughest, most talented athletes. They play their hearts out every game and are an inspiration to us all.
These 18 women were chosen based on their accomplishments, skill level, and overall popularity in the sport. Each one of them has something special about them that makes them not only great athletes but also amazing people.
We hope that you enjoyed learning about these incredible women, and we look forward to seeing what new talent emerges in the future!
If you’re a fan of the sport, we’d love to hear about your favourite female rugby player in the comments!