Feminist Dr Marie fought hard to make ‘rugby’ accessible for all

Pioneer: Dr Marie Houdre and her Hirondelles in 1923

ONEof the few countries to see a version of women’s rugby flourish between the wars was France where Dr Marie Houdre – a noted feminist and health specialist – helped morph the game of Barette into rugby.
Women’s Barette started in France towards the end of the 19th century as a hybrid 12-a-side touch rugby, a less violent version of the Men’s game that was evolving elsewhere. Smaller pitch, no tackling and you had to pass if an opponent managed to touch the ball. No scrums, simple re...

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