Contracts for 30 Scotland Women rugby players and two new semi-pro teams as part of four-year plan to grow the game

Professionals contracts will be given to a minimum of 30 Scotland Women players after this year’s Rugby World Cup as part of a new four-year strategy to grow the game in this country.

Contracts will be awarded to a minimum of 30 Scotland players. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Contracts will be awarded to a minimum of 30 Scotland players. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Two new semi-professional teams will be launched, with contracted players assigned to each, and the aim is for them to take part in a cross-border competition.

The two semi-pro teams will be augmented by players from the Premiership and universities rugby.

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The overarching aim of the four-year strategy is to increase the number of girls and women playing rugby and increase the sport’s visibility.

Scotland in action against Ireland during the recent TikTok Women's Six Nations. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
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Scotland Women have qualified for the Rugby World Cup for the first time in 12 years and will compete in the 12-team tournament in New Zealand in October.

However, Scotland’s internationals are not full-time and most have jobs or are students and have to juggle their rugby around that.

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The increased investment by the game’s governing body is designed to not only help at the elite level of the women’s game but also the grassroots.

Scottish Rugby will invest £2.5 million to cover the first year of the strategy, taking the total women and girls’ funding to £4.1m, more than double the previous year’s allocation.

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A statement from Scottish Rugby said: “The focus of the strategy will be around four P’s; Participation, Pathway, Pipeline and Performance. These key areas are underpinned by a holistic approach which is needed to develop the women and girl’s game across the board to create long term growth and sustainability.

“We will invest in seven strategic priority areas, our key building blocks, that will impact across the four P’s. These are; ‘Empowering leadership’, ‘Positive introduction to rugby’, ‘Playing pathway for all’, ‘Building capacity in our clubs’, ‘Developing the future of performance rugby’, ‘A winning Scotland’ and ‘Let them see what they can be’.”

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Over the last decade participation numbers in women and girl’s rugby in Scotland has increased from 2,680 to 6,173.

There has also been “an unprecedented rise in participation figures” as rugby emerges from the Covid.

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Gemma Fay, Scottish Rugby’s head of women and girls’ strategy, said: “This strategy will enable us to channel the passion, enthusiasm and interest that there is for the game within Scotland and ultimately grow the sport. We will focus on connecting all aspects of what it takes to develop a sustainable, thriving game to ensure that we support our clubs to build capacity, establish a clear pathway for our players and people and ensure Scotland Women are supported to be successful on the international stage.

“Rugby is a game for all and it is important that we provide a pathway that is for all, whether that is in a Scotland shirt or simply have an enjoyable experience on and off the field at their respective level.

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“We want to harness the current momentum we have seen post-pandemic in the women’s game and create long lasting, transformational change, allowing women and girl’s rugby to define its own unique identity within the rugby landscape in Scotland.”

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