A Cardiff gay-inclusive rugby club has spoken out against World Rugby's decision to stop transgender women from playing women's contact rugby.

The new regulations follow a three-phase review which concluded that transgender women could not play due to risk of injury.

Wales' first gay inclusive rugby team, Cardiff Lions RFC, said on Twitter they were "disappointed and saddened" by the decision.

The statement read: "We the Cardiff Lions are disappointed and saddened with World Rugby's decision to exclude trans women from Women’s rugby.

"We will continue to campaign for this decision to be reversed and rugby be a sport for all".

They added: "Rugby is a sport played by all regardless of identity or sexual orientation. Along with our fellow IGR teams and IGR we will continue to campaign for this decision to be reversed and rugby be a sport for all. Never the less Cardiff Lions will continue to welcome all to our club regardless of identity or orientation #rugbyforall."

In a document explaining its decision published on Friday, World Rugby stated: "It is known that biological males (whose puberty and development is influenced by androgens/testosterone) are stronger by 25% to 50%, are 30% more powerful, 40% heavier, and about 15% faster than biological females.

"As a result of this process and based on the available evidence, it was concluded that a balance between safety, fairness and inclusion could not be provided for transwomen playing women’s contact rugby".

The International Gay Rugby club house (IGR) responded to the new policy, stating that it did not take into consideration the impact it would have on the wider LGBT+ community.

The statement read: "This is a devastating decision for the rugby community. We utterly condemn this decision.

"The policy is primarily focused on the elite level of transgender women playing women's rugby however World Rugby have acknowledged that this will affect the community game.

"The proposed policy not only stops transgender women from playing, it also severely restricts access for transgender men and non-binary players enjoying the sport they love".

The new policy has sparked opinions online

Responding to the new policy Chief Executive of LGBT+ charity Stonewall, Nancy Kelley, said: "We are deeply disappointed by World Rugby’s decision to move ahead with their proposal to stop most trans women from playing in competitions they govern.

"Important policies like this should be based on robust, relevant evidence and work closely with trans people playing in the sport.

"As the world continues to evolve, it is vital that policies expand rather than restrict any sport’s potential to grow and benefit all our communities".

Sparking conversation online, people both praised and criticised the new policy. One comment read: "I’m relieved. Now women and girls can play without a 30% higher chance of injury. Everyone is free to play - on a level playing field, in their sex class".

Another one read: "A hideous and vile decision by @WorldRugby. Be ashamed, be very ashamed of yourselves".