Women’s fifteens continues to be an “emerging professionalism” according to Rob Nicol.
Despite men getting paid to compete in the Mitre 10 Cup provincial competition, their female opposites are playing the game simply for the love of it.
“For us, it’s just about making a rep team and getting the opportunity to wear your provincial colours” Cocksedge shared.
This is something New Zealand Rugby, and players would like to see changed in the future.
The Black Ferns are contracted to New Zealand Rugby but are only considered as 'semi-professionals', a label Rob Nicol disagreed strongly with.
“It’s not like they’re working part-time. They’re working full on with their lives, more than those focusing full-time on rugby, because they’re managing two careers.”
Some of the players have jobs as teachers, lawyers, police officers and accountants.
The New Zealand Rugby board recently invested $1.2 million dollars back into provincial unions, to provide a high-performance environment for all Farah Palmer Cup players.
Nicol labelled the move as a “game-changer” giving amateur players a taste of a more professional environment.
Jilly Collins is head of women’s rugby for Rugby Australia organisation. Last year, there were 60,000 registered female players across the country.
Being at a similar stage of growth, Collins acknowledged New Zealand Rugby’s progress.
“One thing that is a definite strength over there is the Farah Palmer Cup. We get access to those games, and you can just see the quality, and coverage, and profile improve each year.”
Like the Black Ferns, the Wallaroos are paid match and assembly fees by Rugby Australia. Women playing in Australia's premier inter-state competition the 'Super W' are unpaid, the same situation as the Farah Palmer Cup.
Collins said both New Zealand and Australia needed to address payment with a "stepping stone" approach, to ensure the longevity of the female game.
"We don't want to create something that is unsustainable and we have to back-track on. We want to make sure it is sustainable for the long term and it's right for the players and everyone is supportive of it" Collins shared.