Irish Rugby chiefs have announced a multi-million euro investment plan to develop women’s rugby.
The IRFU are targeting qualification of a sevens side for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro along with increasing the participation in the women’s game nationwide. The programme, with support from the Irish Sports Council, will include investment of €1.1m per annum to create a high performance squad with the aspiration to qualify and successfully compete in Rio along with the development of the game at grassroots level.
The IRFU will continue to operate a sport transfer, Talent Identification Programme (TID) open to all players and athletes who have the potential to play elite women’s rugby. This TID programme has been in operation since January with several screening camps taking place throughout Ireland. To date, over 100 players have taken part in screening camps and further camps will be confirmed in the coming weeks. The women’s ‘Road to Rio’ journey begins tomorrow when an elite Irish sevens squad departs for China to take part in the Hong Kong Sevens Women’s Invitational (22-24 March) and the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series in Guangzhou, (March 30-31).
IRFU Director of Rugby Development and the Club Game Scott Walker said: “The success of our sevens programme in such a short space of time to qualify for the Sevens Rugby World Cup, which takes place in Moscow in June, is a mark of the talent and commitment of our representative women.
“To continue to sustain this, it is important for us to expand our pool of players and to identify possible future players. The IRFU’s Olympic Sevens programme will entail both the talent identification process and necessary support structures for athletes to compete at the levels necessary to not only hopefully qualify for the Rio game, but compete for a podium finish.”
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