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RFU announces Senior Women's Player Pathway changes

23 April 2013

  • Changes to women's development route
  • New Academy Programme will also be implemented
County women's rugby

Photo: RFU Archive

The RFU is implementing changes to the Senior Women’s Player Pathway (18+) for the 2013/2014 season to enhance opportunities for players, clubs and Constituent Bodies (CB) at this level.

Following a review of the Senior Player Pathway, the CB Programme will no longer be a mandatory element of the pathway. CBs will, however, continue to play a major and important role in the Player Pathway by owning and leading their own programme.

CBs can still participate in the CB Programme (now to be played in April/May), and they may play intra-Division rugby and run development days. They will also be responsible for nominating their players for further development. It is hoped this will help to further develop relationships between the women’s game and their CBs, improve the quality of coaching and the experience, as well as to ensure consistency.

The RFU will also introduce a new Academy Programme for the Senior players, who are nominated directly by their CB, club or university in the 2013/14 season. There will be four academies nationwide and the programme will run over a 12-month period. At the end of the season players could be nominated to attend England trials.

Through the new academies, the RFU Women’s Performance Department will deliver an improved quality of experience for players including coaching, strength and conditioning programmes, nutritional, lifestyle and performance analysis support.  

Nicola Ponsford, the RFU’s Head of Performance (Women), said: “The change in the CB programme will give CBs the opportunity to develop women’s rugby in the way that is best suited to their area. Each CB is different so by giving autonomy back to the CBs this will ensure that these differences can be taken into account.

“The RFU will continue to work with the CBs going forward and will look to strengthen links between CBs and their clubs. The introduction of the new Academy Programme will allow the RFU Performance Department (Women) to work with players who are fully committed to being part of the RFU Player Pathway and who have a sole goal of representing England at the highest possible level. More details on the nomination process to the new structure will be sent out in June.”

The current RFU Player Pathway for Girls (U18s and U15s) will remain unchanged for the coming season.