Women's and Girls impact programme launched #TRYOURGAME
14 July 2014 14:33pm
By Liz Jones
Ahead of the Women's Rugby World Cup next month, the Welsh Rugby Union has launched a legacy programme to encourage greater and more meaningful female participation in the game
The programme aims to increase habitual and long-term participation in rugby, recruit and up skill female coaches and introduce new players to the game.
There are mixed touch rugby teams taking part in WRU leagues around Wales, female only coaching courses with Wales Women's Rugby World Cup squad playing a lead role as ambassadors for the sport and importantly, five 'transition' events are being held around Wales - entitled #TRYOURGAME - to give women and girls the opportunity to try rugby for the first time, develop to the next level or try new forms of the game. The events, which kicked off at Colwyn Bay on Friday, include coaching workshops with national squad players taking a lead role, rugby taster sessions and touch rugby games.
Ben Rose, WRU development manager for Women's and Girls rugby said, "In line with our strategic plan for Women's and Girls Development, we have made great strides in many areas of women's and girls' rugby in recent years, especially in schools and colleges, the elite pathway and the club game.
"However, it is clear we need to increase the playing opportunities available for women and girls from junior age group through to senior rugby, offering alternative forms of the game too.
"We successfully applied for 'IRB Impact Beyond WRWC' funding as a Women's Rugby World Cup 2014 participant team, and our focus with this programme is to consolidate the programmes we have already rolled out, giving women and girls opportunities to be actively involved in rugby on a more permanent basis, outside of their school, college or development centre, creating links with clubs and increasing the provision of rugby at clubs.
"We are hoping that we can attract between 250 and 500 women and girls to the transition or '#tryourgame' events around Wales altogether and whether or not they've played before, or haven't been involved for a while, we are encouraging everyone to come along and give it a try. The national squad players are a great example of what can be achieved in women's rugby but there will be something for everyone, whatever your level.
"Following on from the transition days, many clubs with female sections will be holding their own recruitment and taster days in order to welcome the women and girls to their organisation."
The role of the Women's Rugby World Cup national squad players is key to the project with many of the squad players about to complete the WRU's Level One coaching course.
"The programme is not only based around increasing numbers in the game, but also raising the profile of the women's game too," added Rose, "and the national squad players are key to that.
"If they are qualified coaches by the time they hang up their boots, combined with their experience in international rugby, they are going to be in a perfect position to put something straight back into the game, and provide quality playing opportunities for women and girls."
Wales Women squad member Shona Powell Hughes said, "I used to play football too but I had to choose between the two and I chose rugby because I enjoy it so much. The team spirit is brilliant and it's fantastic to put on the three feathers and represent your country."
Wales Women kick off their Women's Rugby World Cup campaign against hosts France on Friday 1 August at the FFR headquarters (Marcoussis), 8.45pm.
FORTHCOMING #TRYOURGAME EVENTS
Tuesday 15 July - Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach (6-8pm)
Wednesday 16 July - Swansea University Fields (6-8pm) and Ammanford RFC (6-8pm)
Thursday 17 July - Llandaff North RFC (6-8pm)
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.