BRILLIANT: Ireland announce 43 professional contracts for women's players - Ruck

BRILLIANT: Ireland announce 43 professional contracts for women’s players

BY STELLA MILLS

The Irish Rugby Football Union has announced that it will be offering 43 professional contracts to women’s players across both its sevens and fifteens set ups. 

The contracts will range up to €30,000, with players being given the opportunity to earn more through match fees and bonuses. 

It is expected that the IRFU will be discussing details of contracts with players individually before making public announcements with more details.  

After a heavy defeat against England in this year’s TikTok Women’s Six Nations, the IRFU came under scrutiny for not investing in its women’s squad. In response, the union promised to look into the prospect of contracting players once the Head of Women’s Performance and Pathways was filled. 

Gillian McDarby has now been appointed to fill that role. Within this, the IRFU said McDarby will be responsible for “The development, delivery, and implementation of the approved strategic and operational direction of the women’s rugby performance programme for both XVs and Sevens.”

She will also be responsible for developing a cohesive player pathway that connects and feeds the needs of both national programmes.

This move now means that all six teams in next year’s TikTok Women’s Six Nations will have some form of professional contracts in place, which has been a welcomed step of progress among those in the rugby community.

Speaking of her appointment Gillian McDarby said, “It is a great privilege to be appointed as the IRFU’s first Head of Women’s Performance and Pathways. I have worked across several important areas in the game and believe there is a huge growth opportunity for the women’s game in Ireland” 

On the contract announcement, Kevin Potts, Chief Executive, IRFU said: “Today’s announcement of the creation of up to 43 IRFU contracts for Women’s Players is a further strong signal of our intent to foster and grow the women’s game over the coming years and to ensure that our women’s players are provided with the best opportunities to compete at the highest levels of the game in the future.”

The women’s team will travel to Japan later this month for an invitational two-Test series against Sakura 15s to assist Japan in preparations for the Rugby World Cup, which Ireland narrowly missed out on qualifying for. 

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