While it was uncommon for women to play rugby union in the early twentieth century, some seized short opportunities afforded to them by the significant changes to society brought on by the First World War. In Newport, munition factory workers set up their own women's rugby teams, to play in exhibition matches against one another. These games raised money for local and wartime charities, and quickly became popular spectator events.
On the 29 September 1917, local newspapers reported on thousands of people who enjoyed a 'wonderful display of scrimmaging, running, passing, and kicking' by the Newport munition factory women's teams at Cardiff Arms Park. The referee Mr R. Pollock stated that 'he had refereed many a worse game between male teams.'
The Newport players competed in exhibition matches around South Wales, inspiring the creation of other local teams. On 15 December 1917, Cardiff Ladies faced Newport Ladies at the Cardiff Arms Park, the visitors winning 6-0.