Child­hood hero Team-mate you’d like to be Cen­tu­rion Drive for girls Ir­ish goals TV boost

Rugby World - - LIFE IN PICTURES -

“Prob­a­bly Rocky Clark. She loves it in the scrum and get­ting stuck in, she’s so strong, she leads and she has a big im­pact

on the game” set-ups suc­cess­fully. Premier 15s games are reg­u­larly played at the Stoop and mar­ket­ing im­ages around the ground fea­ture men’s and women’s play­ers.

“Com­pa­nies are talk­ing about how they can in­vest more in women and if they do it now, they can be part of some­thing on the rise,” says Water­man. “You also get more for your money.

“I don’t think many spon­sors utilise the as­sets they have in the (women’s) teams. There are amaz­ing role mod­els and unique in­di­vid­u­als in the women’s game and I don’t think that po­ten­tial has been un­locked. It can en­gage au­di­ences.”

Another big talk­ing point from the women’s sur­vey ear­lier this year is that “Va’aiga Tuiga­mala. When I lived in New Zealand he was a star for the All Blacks, be­fore the Jonah

Lomu era” 68% of play­ers feel there is more fo­cus on sevens than 15s. In fair­ness, there were more women’s Tests in Novem­ber than ever be­fore and in Jan­uary the

RFU are in­tro­duc­ing 15-a-side con­tracts.

“It’s be­com­ing dif­fi­cult to go be­tween codes,” says Water­man. “We’ve seen sevens play­ers come back to club rugby and take a long time to tran­si­tion; that’s in a club game, let alone a Test match. Con­tracts are in­valu­able in sevens and 15s, and it means play­ers are now given a choice, whereas be­fore it was just sevens that had con­tracts. It means you can build con­sis­tency of per­for­mance.”

Plenty of food for thought ahead of the 2021 World Cup in New Zealand.

Katy Da­ley-Mclean, who led Eng­land to vic­tory in the 2014 World Cup fi­nal, made her 100th Test ap­pear­ance when fac­ing USA at Al­lianz Park last month.

North­ern RFC have teamed up with mo­tor re­tailer Look­ers to en­cour­age more girls to take up rugby. They want to es­tab­lish U11, U13 and U15 teams over the next three years.

The IRFU has set big tar­gets as part of its Women in Rugby Ac­tion Plan 2018-2023. Over the next five years, the goals in­clude in­creas­ing fe­male par­tic­i­pa­tion by 20%, win­ning at least one Six Na­tions ti­tle and qual­i­fy­ing for the 2020 Olympics.

BBC ALBA will screen Scot­land Women’s Six Na­tions home games next year, plus the fi­nal of the do­mes­tic com­pe­ti­tion, the Sarah Beaney Cup.

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