Last updated on November 18th, 2023 at 03:51 PM
Ahead of the opening weekend of the new season, Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby (PWR), in partnership with Getty Images, is aiming to change perceptions of women’s rugby by unveiling a curated photo series championing 10 of the game’s stars.
The campaign, Powered Differently, shot by Tara Moore for Getty Images, is 100% powered by women to capture the stories of incredible rugby players with a range of body types and ethnicities from PWR clubs across the UK.
The campaign has been created with an intentional and inclusive lens to visual storytelling for women and girls in sports.
The imagery showcases women’s rugby in a new light, highlighting the powerful diversity that exists in the PWR, where any woman can find a representation of themselves on the pitch.
This follows Getty Images’ VisualGPS research showing that 7 in 10 British consumers want sports organisations to do a better job at promoting female athletes.
The shoot comprised of 10 players, from every team in the league, features, from left to right: Rachel Lund (Gloucester-Hartpury), Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins), Jodie Ounsley (Exeter Chiefs), Abbie Ward (Bristol Bears), Zoe Harrison (Saracens), Abi Burton and Ellie Green (Trailfinders), Detysha Harper (Sale Sharks), Amanda Swartz (Leicester Tigers) and Daisy Hibbert-Jones (Loughborough Lightning). The ambition is to raise the profile of the players beyond their rugby profile, capturing the incredible stories behind each player too.
Getty Images guidelines for photographing female athletes prioritise a player-led approach, from conception to execution.
The images in the series reveal the unique personalities and incredible stories of the players beyond the game, including Jodie Ounsley who wears a cochlear implant, and Abbie Ward the first player contracted by England to return to playing after having a baby, benefiting from the RFU’s newly installed maternity policy.
Shaunagh Brown, Harlequins Women player and former England international comments: “The concept for the campaign is about us as people not just players. It’s really important that we’re able to express ourselves and show a different side and that we’re more than just rugby players.
Often you can be found guilty of thinking ‘It’s just another picture what does it matter’, but actually when we see photos that truly represent us, it gives us confidence.”
Abi Burton, star of the shoot and player for Trailfinders Women also adds: “I’ve never really done a photo shoot like this before but to work with such amazing photographers, stylists and make-up artists, it’s been such a unique experience.
On previous shoots, you would usually just wear your rugby kit and that’s about it, this time we’ve been able to express our true selves and people have been willing to listen to how we want to do it too which has been really powerful.”
Earlier this year, Belinda Moore was appointed CEO of the PWR, taking responsibility for supercharging the growth of the domestic league.
Moore has already led a rebrand of the league from Premiership 15’s to PWR and, together with this campaign, has the ambition to convert the broader momentum in the women’s game into value for the domestic league.
Belinda Moore, CEO of Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby comments: “We’re entering a new era of women’s rugby and it’s fair to say that historically there have been a lot of stereotypes around the sport.
I think what is so important about this campaign is that it tries to break some of those stereotypes and show off the incredible women that play in the PWR, that look great in their own right and have amazing personal stories.
“They’re rugby players first and foremost but they’re also fantastic role models for the next generation of women and girls that can look at these women and say ‘that could be me’, and I think that’s an extraordinarily powerful thing for the sport to do.”
Jacqueline Bourke, Senior Director Creative at Getty Images adds: “Breaking down stereotypes around women and girls in sport is a key focus of ours at Getty Images so we were delighted to partner with Premiership Women’s Rugby and bring our deep visual expertise and insights to their campaign.”
In addition to the campaign amplifying the players profiles, the PWR has also secured a landmark first broadcast deal with TNT Sports, committing to showing more than 20 live games throughout the season.
This means that at least one game will be shown live each game week working to make sure that women’s rugby can make the most of the growing number of women’s sports fans in the UK.
The first match of the new season between Bristol Bears and Sale Sharks, kicks off live on TNT Sports on Saturday 18th November at 12.30pm. To keep up with the action and the incredible women showcased in the shoot, you can also follow the PWR on X and Instagram.