The curtain comes down Saturday on a women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand which has smashed records and been declared a milestone in the growth of the sport.
Favourites England will face the hosts and holders in the final in front of a sell-out 40,000 crowd at Auckland’s famed Eden Park.
It will be the biggest attendance in history for a women’s rugby match and is the second time that this World Cup has broken the record, after 34,000 packed the same stadium for the opening day.
The previous highest figure was the 20,000 who saw England beat Canada in the 2014 final in Paris.
In line with a boom in some other women’s sports, this ninth edition, which began on October 8, is the best-attended women’s Rugby World Cup ever.
“This is what we’ve wanted for a long time and everyone is turning up to the party, which is awesome,” New Zealand flanker Sarah Hirini said during the build-up to the final.
“It’s on us players to continue the momentum and keep building.”
It is a far cry from the first women’s World Cup, in 1991, when an estimated 3,000 people saw the United States beat England in the final in Cardiff.
That tournament was not even approved by the International Rugby Board, the…