The Rugby Paper has reported today that the Rugby Football Union have struck a major blow to the England Women’s team by informing the squad that none of their contracts will be renewed.
The move has been justified by Director Nigel Melville, who says the Union’s focus has moved to sevens ahead of next years World Cup.
England rugby currently employs approximately 50 female players on a mix of part-time and full-time contracts with 28 of them making up the England Women’s Rugby World Cup squad.
Many of the current players quit professions to take up rugby full time after the RFU offered them deals following their World Cup triumph in 2014. However, from September 1st, only 17 full-time sevens players will be employed.
A senior insider told the Rugby Paper: “This is appalling management from the RFU
“It’s really difficult for the girls,
“They could come back as World Cup winners and be all over the front pages as heroes, but then it’s like ‘Off you go.’
“Nothing was said about how things would move forward beyond 2016/187 but to drop this on the girls, so close to the tournament, has certainly created a lot of uncertainty.
“They’re now going to be scrambling to find jobs in what is currently a pretty difficult jobs market.
“The reality is that some of them will be doing that right now when they should really be concentrating on the World Cup.”
England women, who last month toppled New Zealand, kick off their campaign against Spain in Dublin on August 9th.
The Red Roses remain the bookies favourite to win the tournament by Paddy Power at 5/6 with New Zealand and Canada not too far behind.