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The Women’s Rugby World Cup began, without IRB sanction, in 1991, when 12-teams competed in Wales for the unofficial title. (IRB sanctioned the WRWC in 1998).
The USA Eagles won this first event, defeating England 19-6 in the final.
The twelve teams playing that year were: England, France, Wales, Spain, Italy, Canada, Netherlands, Japan, Soviet Union, New Zealand, Sweden, and the USA. (Bold denotes teams in this year’s tournament.) There were four pools of three nations each.
The Eagles were coached by Kevin O’Brien and Chris Leach. Players represented many clubs around the nation with Florida State University sending six, Beantown five, Belmont Shore four, and Philadelphia and Minnesota two each.
The first match witnessed USA winning 7-0 against a scrappy Netherlands side. (Old scoring: Four points for a try, two points for a conversion). The lone try came from Patty Jervey, followed by a penalty from Andi Morrell.
In the second pool game, the Eagles romped over the Soviet Union 46-0 with many players scoring.
The much awaited match against the Black Ferns saw a 7-0 USA win, the result coming from inspired forward play. An 18-meter penalty by Chris Harju put the Eagles up 3-0. The pack’s walkover try (touched by Barb Bondi) added four more points for the shutout victory.
The championship would be decided between England and the Eagles. The Red Roses scored first under the post, converted and led 6-0. The rest of the scoring came from the USA, putting 19 points on the board via three tries, two by Claire Godwin. Gold medal to the USA 19-6.