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