- Fifteen-a-side competition central to continued growth
- IRB committed to best-ever Women's Rugby World Cup
- Member Unions dedicated to Fifteens calendar development
The International Rugby Board has reaffirmed its commitment to driving forward the long-term development of Women's Rugby by hosting a dedicated workshop focusing on strategies to enhance the international fifteen-a-side calendar.
The three-day workshop in Twickenham, London, focused on reviewing the current international competition model, considering the needs of Member Unions, sharing knowledge, discussing the challenges and opportunities for the expansion of the Women's fifteen-a-side calendar and how to implement the foundations for a best-ever Women's Rugby World Cup in 2014.
Women's Rugby is currently experiencing unprecedented growth with over a fifth of the global playing population now women or girls. Increased media exposure of events such as the ground-breaking Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 and Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009, and the IOC's decision to include Sevens in the Olympic Games programme, have given the sport a strong platform to grow and develop in emerging and existing Rugby markets.
Guided by the IRB Women's Rugby Plan the IRB has acted on its commitment to drive forward Women's Rugby and this weekend history will be made when the first event of the four-round inaugural IRB Women's Sevens Series kicks off in Dubai. Women's Rugby will again be centre stage at Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow and at Women's Rugby World Cup 2014 in France.
The next step under the Women's Rugby Plan is to consider the pillars of a successful Fifteens competition model and all delegates expressed their commitment to ensuring a robust and enhanced competition calendar for Member Unions in the lead-up to Women's Rugby World Cup 2018. This month a number of Unions have been playing Test matches, including England, New Zealand, Italy, USA, France, Finland and Switzerland.
IRB Women's Development Manager Susan Carty said: "Women's Rugby continues to grow in popularity and mainstream appeal around the world. Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 was a watershed for the Women's Game generating record attendance and viewership figures and strengthening the Women's Rugby brand."
"This workshop provided the opportunity to take a temperature test and discuss with Unions their aims and needs regarding the international Fifteens schedule. It was great to hear their commitment to the ongoing success of Women's Rugby World Cup and the Women's Fifteens calendar and the next step is for the IRB to consider a blueprint to enhance the competition schedule and attract more women and girls to the Game."