Following the launch of #NothingLikeIt last week the IRFU have illustrated the player pathway for women and girls in both 15s and 7s rugby. The infographic is designed to map out how talent and a love of rugby can both be rewarded while demonstrating the importance of the environments in which positive experiences are created.
Clubs are looking forward to a first completed season since 2019 and an opportunity to restart the growth of the 15s game through participation programmes such as Canterbury Give A Try, which is commencing in 90 clubs this week.
A recent #NothingLikeIt case study of Dolphin RFC highlight the need for clubs to have a sustainable pathway in place for women and girls in rugby.
The announcement of provincial 15s competitions and fixtures for the Energia All-Ireland League for the 2021/22 season has also given clubs the platform to go and recruit players at all levels.
The detailed pathway also includes new touch points for the 7s game, including national 7s finals at schools level for the first time as well as a new U16 Women’s Interprovincial 7s programme.
Speaking about the pathway, IRFU Rugby Development Director Colin McEntee said:
Our rugby pathway has a place for everyone.
Women and girls develop a love for the game in their clubs and schools and most players will live out their playing days in that environment and hopefully go on to volunteer, coach and officiate in the community that first welcomed them. It is critical for the recovery of our sport as a whole that girls are welcomed into our rugby clubs and schools and enjoy a positive experience.
We can see right now that the eyes of the world are on our 7s format and we’re coming into a key time for our 15s programme. Rugby performance and participation go hand-in-hand in driving the growth of our game and we’re excited to offer a game that can facilitate the dream of representing your country at a World Cup or an Olympic Games.
IRFU Women’s Development Manager Amanda Greensmith Commented:
We wanted to develop a new way of looking at the rugby pathway so that every women and girl could see themselves in it and understand what the game can offer them. More and more girls are taking up the sport from an early age, but players can still take up the sport in their late teens or adulthood and go on to perform at a high level. That’s why this pathway features access points into the game, and back into the game, right the way up.
7s has a role to play in this regard.
As well as offering the Olympic dream, it works really well as a skill accelerator in how it requires players to work on the core skills of the game in addition to their athletic ability.
This year in particular, we’ll be driving a lot of the growth in the sevens game through our schools and third level institutions. X Rugby 7s will be returning to our schools and we’re looking forward to intervarsity competition once again for 7s.