The 1991 Women's Rugby World Cup was the first Women's Rugby World Cup. The tournament was not approved by the International Rugby Board (IRB), yet it still went ahead despite the disapproval of the sports governing body—France only confirmed their participation minutes before the draw was made on 26 February. Representatives of the IRB, WRFU and RFU attended the final but it was not until 2009 that the IRB officially endorsed the event as a "world cup" when it published, for the first time, a list of previous winners in a press release.
The tournament, held in Wales saw twelve teams compete for the trophy over a period of only a week. The tournament champions were the United States. The teams that failed to qualify for the semi-finals took part in a "plate" tournament between the 11 and 13 April.
Although the tournament was run on a very small and tightly controlled budget it still made a financial loss (which was eventually made good by the RFU), significantly due to the Soviet Union team being unable to pay its hotel and transport bills The team had hoped to survive by bartering and selling trinkets (including, it was suggested at the time, vodka) and items of kit, but these activities were curtailed after they aroused the attention of HM Customs and Excise.
Officially, third place was shared between France and New Zealand.
However, a match between a French and a New Zealand XV did take place on 14 April, France winning 3–0. But it is clear from records held by the RFU Rugby Museum that game was not scheduled as part of the tournament and is not included in any official tournament records after the event.
Participants record that New Zealand fielded a weakened team based around players who had not made many appearances in the tournament. New Zealand awarded no caps – indeed the game does not appear in any official Black Fern records. On the other hand the French RFU have included the game in a recently published official list of internationals, and do appear to have awarded caps.
As status of the game is disputed it is also not currently accepted as being a test match.