The International Rugby Board has announced the appointment of its first ever Women’s Development Manager. The appointment of Susan Carty, the former President of the IRFU Women’s Rugby Committee, is another significant boost for the growth of the Women’s game worldwide.
Commenting on the appointment, IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “One of the key recommendations from the historic 2007 Conference on the Women’s game was the appointment of a dedicated Development Manager for Women’s rugby to provide the impetus for the continued growth of the Women’s game at all levels.
“Susan will be working closely with our 116 member Unions and six Regional Associations to ensure that the key goals of the IRB Women’s Strategic Plan are implemented and in particular to provide assistance to developing Unions in enabling them to grow the Women’s game in their country.”
Women’s rugby is a major growth sport. Played by over 200,000 registered players worldwide across six global regions, the Women’s game has taken a significant step forward in the past five years.
Tournaments such as the Women’s Rugby World Cup, which in Canada in 2006 smashed all previous broadcast and attendance records, and the inaugural Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens, which will be hosted by Dubai next year, have highlighted the competitiveness of Women’s Rugby at International level.
“The appointment comes at a time when the Women’s game is experiencing phenomenal global growth and interest, growth that is clearly highlighted by the 83 Unions who participated in the qualifying process for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 in Dubai,” added Lapasset.
“Competitiveness in the Women’s game at international level is a strong feature in both 15-a-side and Sevens.
“Women’s Rugby World Cup 2010 in London promises to be the most competitive yet and is eagerly awaited within the rugby community.
“The qualifying process for Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 in Dubai was closely fought and illustrated how widespread the Women’s game is today with Brazil qualifying at the expense of Argentina, Thailand defeated hot favourites Kazakhstan in the Asia qualifiers.”
Susan Carty, 31, is well qualified for the requirements of this dynamic job in one of the fastest growing sports in the world, having previously been responsible for development with particular emphasis on integration of the Women’s game within the structures of the Irish Rugby Football Union.
“I started about six years ago, and my main interest has been development and the governance of the game,” explained Carty.
“Once we achieved integration at provincial level, then we moved to national level and with the national team being taken over by the IRFU our resources grew exponentially.
“If before, our numbers in the provinces at Under-13 and Under-18 levels were stagnant, after the integration, the numbers skyrocketed and the youth structures went from strength to strength.”
One of the early assignments for Carty in her new role was to attend the IRB Conference on ‘Participation Rugby’ held recently in Lensbury, with the opportunity to meet and network with the main players in development from 35 Member Unions ‘too good to miss.’
“It was great to take part in these exchange of views and ideas with the leading development practitioners in the world. The debate was of the highest calibre and most issues identified are valid to a large extent for the Women’s game as well,” she said.
“Mind you, the Women’s game is virtually in its entirety an amateur game, so it is not confronted with some of the issues the between professional and amateur that beset the men’s game.
“It is clear, however, that many issues we have debated, like the need for the Unions to develop strategies for the participation level in the game, the health and safety, the facilities, teaching and coaching, the recruitment of volunteers are all the same in the global game, regardless of region, country, language or sex.”