The field of sports, particularly in the case of sports fandoms, are often perceived as a male orientated space, not fit for female consumption. Rugby union is a well-known contact sport, which in recent years, has seen a rise in both women’s rugby players and fans. This is often seen as the result of the success of women’s international teams, as this has only encouraged more females to get involved with the sport. Current research indicates there are key themes surrounding women in sport, both fans and players. These include the way in which females are portrayed as only enjoying rugby union for the attractiveness of the players, alongside only attending matches to support their male rugby fan counterparts. The stereotyping in this sport is also prominent in literature, presenting women rugby players as masculine, contributing to the debate that all women’s rugby players are ‘manly’ due to the sport they play. This stereotype is also apparent for female fans as they’re perceived as less feminine for enjoying a contact sport such as rugby union. Through primary qualitative research in the fo1m of focus group data collection, the analysis of female student s opinions surrounding their motivations and commitment to rugby union will be investigated, in order to counteract the negative perceptions of the female sports fandom. The main objectives of this study involve the motivations behind spectatorship, look into commitment and involvement in the sport and also uncover stigmas and stereotypes which are integrated within the female sports fandom from the perspective of young female students. The participants of this study provided a deep insight into these notions and elaborated on experiences of their own regarding the offset of female judgement in this particular sport. The focus group responses align with current literature in many cases, but future research is needed to follow up on female sports fans genuine enjoyment of the sport particularly those of different age groups in order to gain an overview of female fans and prove females enjoy the sport as much as men and seek to continue this passion in the future.
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