Woodman adds voice to discrimination claims

Portia Woodman in action for the Black Ferns against the USA. Photo: Getty Images
Portia Woodman in action for the Black Ferns against the USA. Photo: Getty Images
World Cup try-scoring star Portia Woodman has added fuel to the fire after American coach Pete Steinberg accused rugby's governing body of discriminating against the women's game.

The 26-year-old Woodman scored four semifinal tries against the USA on Wednesday to spearhead the Black Ferns' charge into Sunday's final against England in Belfast.

But Woodman wasn't entirely happy afterwards in a tournament where the 12 teams have played four matches in 14 days so far.

This, after World Rugby had already added insult to injury, comparing the premier women's event to men's tournaments such as the Tbilisi Cup and under-20 contest.

Woodman didn't hammer the point, but still gave it a decent tap saying: "I'd like to see the men do something like this, you know.

"They probably wouldn't handle this as well as we do.

"If possible it would be nice to have a few more days on the end, just to get some quality rugby and good recovery days.

"The next couple of days is going to be around recovery because it's such a short turnaround. A lot of it will be about legs, compression [tights] on, everything you need to do to get your body right."

The Telegraph reported that Steinberg had previously accused World Rugby of "discrimination" against the women, when comparing their schedule to the men's World Cup.

World Rugby replied this was "entirely false" saying the women's tournament was the same length as the U20 Championship, Nations Cup, Tbilisi Cup and the Americas Pacific Challenge.

Steinberg told the paper last week that a 16-team format with quarterfinals would be a better deal for women's rugby.

"I see this as a slap in the face for the women's game...World Rugby doesn't treat the women with the same respect as they do the men," he said.

"I think doing what is right is recognising that. I am not saying we should be staying in five star hotels and having a six-week tournament.

"I am not saying 'equal' because I recognise the men's World Cup, and I recognise that there is a cost issue, but I think World Rugby could throw an extra £500,000 [$NZ885,000] into this event and actually treat the women in a way that demonstrates respect.

"The Irish Rugby Football Union have done a really good job hosting the tournament but it is really disappointing that World Rugby treats the women the way they treat the boys' under-20s.

"It is wrong...it comes from a lack of investment in the women's game. World Rugby needs to step up and do what is right."

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