Countdown to Rugby World Cup
Scottish Rugby has today outlined an unprecedented financial support package for Scotland Women as they prepare for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand this autumn.
The team secured qualification to compete in the delayed 2021 Rugby World Cup via the repechage tournament which culminated in a 59-3 win over Columbia in February to book the team’s place at a World Cup for the first time in 12 years.
Today, Scottish Rugby’s Director of High Performance Jim Mallinder has outlined how the country’s elite women’s players will be supported, leading up to, and during, the tournament.
In line with recent support to the Scotland Women’s squad Scottish Rugby has agreed individual financial agreements with a total of 36 players ahead of the RWC. This funding model continues the approach currently in place which pays players for time taken out of work or study, in line with their current personal salaries/situations.
This agreed approach allows the player to commit to both individual and team training and preparation programmes giving them the opportunity to focus on best preparation for the RWC.
These individual agreements are in addition to the existing National Team Agreement which provides additional payments for those selected for Scotland camps and matches.
The funding package, which takes Scottish Rugby’s investment in the Scotland Women squad beyond £500,000 in 2022 alone, will enable players to train and fully prepare for the pinnacle event in the women’s rugby calendar over the next four months.
Scotland Women Head Coach Bryan Easson will have access to his squad over 11 weeks of training including two full match-weeks ahead of a pair of warm-up fixtures before the team travel to New Zealand in late September.
A revised funding model will then begin post-RWC in line with the new Women & Girls Game Strategy being launched on June 17, which will cover the next World Cup cycle and outline how Scotland will aim to qualify for the next global tournament in 2025 through strengthening its performance pathways for players from grassroots through to the representative teams.
Scottish Rugby’s Director of High Performance, Jim Mallinder said: “Everyone involved in our Scotland Women programme has worked tirelessly over the past 18 months to get us to the point where our team will compete at a World Cup.
“The players are completely committed to taking this opportunity to perform on the global stage and we are therefore backing them with one of the largest single investment programmes the female game in Scotland has seen.
“Head Coach Bryan Easson will have access to the players at an unprecedented level and the individual funding agreements have been discussed and agreed with every player and Rugby Players Scotland, so we are all aligned.
“The agreements give players support tailored to their own individual circumstances and allows them to focus on preparing for New Zealand.”
Scotland Head Coach, Bryan Easson said: “From a coaching perspective, today’s news is a huge boost to our preparations as we approach an exciting period for the Scotland Women group.
“To have the players training from Monday to Friday for 11 weeks will be hugely beneficial to our programme for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, as we will be able to go into a lot more depth and detail in our on-field and off-field work than ever before.
“We are continually grateful to the support that Scottish Rugby has provided to the Scotland Women programme throughout our Rugby World Cup journey and we are all looking forward to an exciting summer ahead.”
Scotland Women Captain, Rachel Malcolm said: “As a squad we are delighted with today’s news and the statement of intent from the Scottish Rugby. We have a real opportunity now to get ourselves in the best possible shape to compete at the Rugby World Cup and inspire the next generation of young girls in Scotland.”
Rugby Players Scotland Chief Executive, Bill Mitchell said: “Gaining qualification for the World Cup has been achieved through tremendous effort and sacrifice by the players involved and represents a significant milestone for the team.
“RPS is pleased to have been able to work with Scottish Rugby in recognising the importance of this support package that will allow the players to focus on preparing to compete with the best teams in the world. We are also very pleased that the importance of the women’s game is being fully endorsed and supported by the Scottish Rugby, with the considerable investment in the team beyond this World Cup.”