The aim is to provide an integrated framework to facilitate the development of female players at all levels of participation and experience.
It has been jointly developed by IRFU Women’s Executive, Nora Stapleton, with assistance from IRFU Head of Technical Direction, Steve Aboud, and is designed to provide a framework to ensure that coaching, training and playing is always appropriate for the developmental stage of the players involved.
The model was announced before the IRFU Women’s Sevens Dublin, the first World Rugby international seven tournament to be held in Ireland, which will take place this weekend. Ireland is also building towards the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup, which will be held in Dublin and Belfast.
Explaining the document, Stapleton said it would help influence, promote and target players: “It is important to remember that it is not intended to be a production line of world-class players but rather an integrated series of stages to maximise the potential of players according to their own ability and ambition.
“Ultimately, of course, the successful establishment and maintenance of a long-term programme of development will be essential to that small number of players with the talent and aspiration to become elite performers.”
IRFU executive Philip Browne, expressed his satisfaction: “The women’s game perfectly reflects rugby values with respect, excellence, integrity and fun, at the fore of the game throughout the country.
Clubs that operate women’s teams and promote the opportunity for women to take a lead in terms of volunteerism, coaching, development and strategic growth, are reaping the rewards.
“For those clubs who are already embracing the women’s game, the LTPD is to provide an additional resource to develop their players, grow the game, ensure continued safety and broaden engagement.
“For those yet to establish female teams, or promote the participation of women in their club, I urge them to do so, and to use this plan to develop a club strategy for broadening the rugby family.”
Past President of the IRFU Louis Magee pointed to the huge growth of women’s rugby, highlighting the fact in nine years the club participation has doubled.
“With almost 90 clubs fielding an adult women’s team, it is the opportune time to examine the on-going development of the sport to ensure continued enjoyment and the development of players with international potential.”