Australia’s top women’s rugby union players (Wallaroos) have launched a social media campaign against governing body Rugby Australia (RA) over inequalities in investment between the men’s and women’s teams.

The campaign was triggered after RA reshared a social media post of men’s players’ wives and girlfriends being flown to Sydney by the RA to spend time and farewell the men’s team ahead of the squad’s business-class flight to France for the upcoming Rugby World Cup, which starts on September 9.

At least 10 Wallaroos players posted a nine-paragraph statement, including Sera Naiqama, Grace Hamilton, Layne Morgan, and Arabella McKenzie, highlighting the alleged inequalities and claiming they were lied to by RA about funds available.

With Australia set to host the women’s Rugby World Cup in 2029, the players also urged RA to invest properly in their team and development pathways.

Responding to the posts, RA admitted there was more to do for women’s rugby in Australia, adding: “RA will continue to involve the Wallaroos playing group, through RUPA (Rugby Union Players Association), in all planning and developments regarding investment in Women’s Rugby.

“We are taking steps towards a fully professional future for the Wallaroos and investing more broadly in women’s rugby across national and community competition –  and we know we have a way to go.

“In line with RA’s commitment to incorporate players on this journey, RA will continue to meet with the elected Super W representatives from each Super W team, the RUPA Women’s Player Director, and the Wallaroos leadership group to listen and work together, to support female athletes and their coaching and support teams.”

RA’s funding of women’s rugby union 15s is significantly lower than some of their international counterparts, including England and New Zealand, where top female players are on full-time contracts.

The Wallaroos reached the quarterfinals during the Women’s Rugby World Cup last year before getting knocked out by England.

In February, RA announced it would start contracting Wallaroos players on a part-time basis but planned to offer professional contracts by 2025.

A collective bargaining agreement was then signed in March, with the RA investing AU$2 million for 35 female players to be contracted across three tiers, with the potential to earn between AU$30,000 and AU$52,000 for combined participation in the Wallaroos squad and Super W, the top-tier club competition.

However, huge discrepancies remain in terms of funding for coaching staff and equal travel arrangements. Wallaroos coach Jay Tregonning also works as a teacher out of necessity to complement his coaching income.