- New strategy will see the game taken to 100,000 females
- “It really feels like something has changed in our sport” – World Cup winner Sarah Hunter
Photo: Getty Images
The women’s game is set for an unprecedented boost after the RFU announced plans to introduce rugby to 100,000 women and girls across the country.
The strategy, launched today (September 3) at the Houses of Parliament, aims to capitalise on the growing popularity of the women’s game and on the fantastic World Cup victory last month.
It aims to grow the game to see 25,000 women and girls taking part in contact rugby by 2017, while expanding the reach of the game to attract more coaches, volunteers, officials, social players and fans
The women and girl’s game has seen great growth over the past 12 months with playing numbers increasing from 15,000 to 18,000 – double the growth seen in any other year.
It means England already has the largest female rugby playing population in the world.
There has also been a strong increase in females taking up social rugby such as O2 Touch, and other informal ways of playing.
Rugby World Cup winner Sarah Hunter, said: “It really feels like something has changed in our sport, and I am hugely excited about what the future holds for women’s rugby.
“It was great to be in the Houses of Parliament to help launch the strategy. It will hopefully inspire lots more women and girls to give rugby a go, with many no doubt getting hooked like us.”
The RFU will be targeting 200 clubs in England, along with schools, colleges and universities to make rugby an option for females.
The strategy focuses on the needs of the grassroots game, covering four main areas:
- Ensuring a warm and welcoming club environment
- Providing local options for every need
- Ensuring that the player pathway is clear and connected
- Ensuring that rugby is a real option for females when considering their sporting and fitness options.
Helen Grant, Minister for Sport, said: “The future of women’s rugby at the elite level is bright.
“England’s Women’s team are an inspiration to women and girls coming into the sport, particularly after their brilliant World Cup win.
“I welcome the RFU’s strategy to get more women involved in the game be that as players, coaches or volunteers.”