The 1994 Women's Rugby World Cup was the second world cup for women. It was originally scheduled to be held in the Amsterdam, Netherlands (April 10–24) but was cancelled only weeks before. However, a replacement competition has been organised around the same dates in Scotland.
The official reason for the cancellation was that the event organisers failed to get official endorsement of the event as the "Women's World Cup" from the International Rugby Board (IRB). The minutes of the 1993 Interim meeting of the IRB state the following about the "1994 Women's International Tournament":
"The Council agreed to defer consideration of participation by member unions in the tournament until such time as a formal request is received from the organizers."
Hence not only was there uncertainty to whether it really was the "Women's World Cup" or not, but the IRB refused to endorse it regardless of its status – the "deferral" (above) was in practice a refusal to endorse as the next scheduled IRB meeting was only days before the event was due to start. 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.
Because of this, the Unions of some countries decided not to pay team expenses (including New Zealand, where women's rugby was by now fully integrated in the national union, and ultimately others as well) or withdrew their entries. Several team members decided to go ahead and raised the money themselves, but the surrounding uncertainty of the event status and the financial risk from teams pulling out prompted the event organisers to (rather abruptly) cancel it.
The women who had trained so hard, and had gone to much trouble raising money etc., were so disappointed at the cancellation that an alternative tournament in Scotland was soon organised. despite the IRB threatening sanctions against unions taking part in this unendorsed event, it went ahead.
Officially it (and its predecessor in 1991) were never endorsed by the IRB the Scottish organisers did not pursue the issue. However, all of the participating teams regarded it as the "real" World Cup.
Eventually eleven of the original sixteen entrants took part – as well as New Zealand, Netherlands also withdrew from both participation as well as hosts, and Spain pulled out very late – after the groups had been drawn – and were replaced by a Scottish Students team. Italy and Germany were also notable absentees.
Once the event was underway proved to be a great success,England exacting revenge for their 1991 defeat to USA, beating the defending champions 38–23 in the final.