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IRFU Launch Women In Rugby Action Plan 2018-2023

IRFU Launch Women In Rugby Action Plan 2018-2023

The Irish Rugby Football Union today outlined its strategic objectives to grow and develop the Women’s game over the next five years with the launch of its Women in Rugby Action Plan 2018-2023, which is a pillar component of the overall IRFU Strategic Plan 2018-2023 – Irish Rugby: ‘Building Success Together’.


Headline Targets



5,000 Adult Players

WRWC 2021 Qualification & top 6 finish

300 Women’s & Girls Teams

One Women’s Six Nations Title (Top 3 otherwise)

150 Secondary Schools

Qualification for 2020 Olympics Sevens

6,500 Youth Players

Qualification for 2020 Sevens Rugby World Cup

1,000 Third Level Players

Win two Sevens World Series Tournaments

300 Female Players

Consistent Top 6 Finish Sevens World Series

80 Female Referees

Consistent Top 2 Finish European U-18 Sevens

Download the Women In Rugby Action Plan

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The IRFU established an Independent review group in November 2017, co-chaired by Mary Quinn and Su Carty, to evaluate and discern the strategic focus for the development of the Women’s game in Ireland.
The plan outlined in the Women in Rugby Action Plan 2018-2023 aims to achieve the following over the course of the next five years.

  • To be a sport of equal opportunity and access for all
  • To optimise the quality of experience provided for female age-grade rugby players
  • To drive a performance system that demands and supports development and competitive excellence
  • To increase female participation to 20%, or more, across the game, including players, coaches, referees, volunteers and committees


Mary Quinn and Su Carty at the launch of the Women In Rugby Action Plan

Speaking about the Women in Rugby Action Plan, IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne commented: “To achieve our objectives for female rugby, we recognise the need to build from grassroots to create a sustainable model for the game.  

“This entails attracting more adult and young female players into the game and providing sustainable and accessible opportunities to play the game through both 15s and Sevens.”

Mary Quinn, Chair of the IRFU Women’s Sub Committee, spoke about the creation of a female player pathway, stating: “We aim to create a structured pathway which attracts young female players to club rugby where they can progress their rugby careers through Under-14, Under-16 and Under-18 levels towards the senior Women’s game.

“In schools we are committed to creating opportunities for female students to experience rugby through an XRugby7s and Sevens pathway. 
“Increased participation through a quality player development pathway that enables players to achieve their full potential. This, in turn, will support an increased flow of talent through the Women’s All-Ireland League and provincial panels into national squads.”

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Speaking about driving competition at representative level and growing female participation in volunteerism and game administration Su Carty, IRFU World Rugby representative, added: “We aim to build depth to drive greater competition for representative places which will propel Ireland’s representative sides towards consistently strong performance levels on the international stage.
“We want to grow the number of female volunteers working in support of these programmes as coaches, referees, managers and administrators. Furthermore, we want this growth reflected in the governance of the game at club, provincial and national level.”

Download the Women In Rugby Action Plan