Scottish Rugby announce support package for women’s World Cup campaign

Players to be compensated for time away from work and study

Emma Wassell is expected to be a member of the Scotland Women's squad for the World Cup in New Zealand later this year. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Emma Wassell is expected to be a member of the Scotland Women's squad for the World Cup in New Zealand later this year. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

SCOTTISH RUGBY has extended its support package which compensates Scotland Women squad members for the time they take away from work and study so that it will run until after this Autumn’s World Cup in New Zealand. These individual agreements are in addition to the existing National Team Agreement which provides additional payments for those selected for Scotland camps and matches.

“Our players have different careers, we’ve got lecturers, we’ve got accountants, students, a whole range,” he reasoned. “They are not full-time professional players so they’re juggling their work lives and their rugby playing. They’re going to their employers and saying: ‘I want to prepare properly and professionally, I want to take time off’. We are financing that time off.”


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“In my view this isn’t new, it’s a succession to what’s happened this year. It’s looking, communicating with the players, and asking what fits their individual situation at this time.

“What we’re doing now is catering for their careers, we’re putting a package in place to make sure they can train full-time,” he added. “After the World Cup we’ll be looking at a different financial model. We’ll be looking at rewarding performance.”

Mallinder stressed that professionalising the women’s game cannot be a case of throwing money at individuals without ensuring there is appropriate playing and coaching environments for them to operate within.

To that end, Gemma Fay – Scottish Rugby’s Head of Women and Girls Strategy – is set to announce a new plan on Thursday

“We’ve got a club system – a community club game – and we’ve got our international game, and nothing in between,” acknowledged Mallinder. “We’ve got lots of players playing in England and we’re not going to say, ‘all you players playing in England, come up here’. But what we do need is something in the middle so we can hopefully encourage some of the girls to come up and play and also for more of our Scotland players to play in.”

Asked if entering a team into the part-time professional Alliance Premier 15s in England is an option, he replied: “I don’t want to say too much. The chat today is what we’re doing up to the World Cup.

“To be honest, we don’t know exactly what we’re going to do because we haven’t anything in place at the moment. We are speaking to a lot of different people. We can’t just set it up ourselves. We need input from others.”

 

Meanwhile, Scotland team captain Rachel Malcolm said that she is delighted with the deal. “I think it’s absolutely the right package for us,” she said. “What’s been really impressive for us as players is that all of us have been listened to individually and it’s been updated as a result.

“For us as players, all we want is the best opportunity to go and compete at the World Cup. In our opinion, what Scottish Rugby have done with this statement of intent is exactly what we want, and we’re delighted with the support we have.”

Rugby Players Scotland Chief Executive, Bill Mitchell, added: “Gaining qualification for the World Cup has been achieved through tremendous effort and sacrifice by the players involved and represents a significant milestone for the team.

“RPS is pleased to have been able to work with Scottish Rugby in recognising the importance of this support package that will allow the players to focus on preparing to compete with the best teams in the world.  We are also very pleased that the importance of the women’s game is being fully endorsed and supported by the Scottish Rugby, with the considerable investment in the team beyond this World Cup.”

Despite suffering a Six Nations whitewash, head coach Bryan Easson insisted that the team returned to training yesterday feeling energised by the experience, ahead of starting an 11-week block of preparation for the World Cup.

“When you look at the time we had together going into the Six Nations it was pretty much two years, and our goal through that time was to qualify for the World Cup, which we did,” he reasoned. “Once that goal had been reached, there was a conscious decision to grow the group out for the World Cup and we capped 16 players.

“We performed well at times [during the Six Nations], and disappointingly other times. But with the three bonus points we picked up away from home, we were one phase away against Wales, one phase away against Ireland, and a couple of phases against Italy. So, we were very close to three away wins which has never ever happened.

“For that reason, we don’t look at it in a painful way, we look at it in terms of how much we learned.   We’ve taken a lot from that whole two-year campaign, and now we’re pushing onto the World Cup.”

Easson will have access to his squad over 11 weeks of training including two full match-weeks ahead of a pair of warm-up fixtures before the team travel to New Zealand in late September.

“From a coaching perspective, today’s news is a huge boost to our preparations as we approach an exciting period for the Scotland Women group,” he said.

“To have the players training from Monday to Friday for 11 weeks will be hugely beneficial to our programme for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, as we will be able to go into a lot more depth and detail in our on-field and off-field work than ever before.”


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About David Barnes 2960 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

13 Comments

  1. George H – respectfully, I’m not sure you have any knowledge of the Women’s game at all. Could I suggest you maybe do a wee bit of research before posting comments that make you look a wee bit …silly?

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    • DrH, well at least I put my name to my comments, and I’ve already admitted I know little about the women’s game that why I asked the question and as for looking a wee bit silly for asking a question, if you don’t ask you don’t learn so by all means educate me in the format for the Women’s game, it isn’t one that I follow.

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  2. the “tweak” to the domestic women’s game and this proper prep for the RWC are two big steps if not permanent better funding. Both very welcome developments

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    • Is this ‘New’ funds or is it taking it from another aspect of the existing budget? If it is taking funding away from another area which area should it be taken from?

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  3. So let’s get this straight 36 women players are being given a share of half of what Mark Dodson earns in a year? Is it even that much? Given the utter shambles of Scotlands international performances at all levels and the debacle at glasgow how is Dodson still in a job? Give the women proper pro contracts, establish a womens pro league similar to the pro 12/14 and stop giving away exorbitant amounts of money for failure.

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    • Far be it from me to defend Scottish Rugby or Mark Dodson but you are way off here Neil.

      Pro contracts for what exactly? There is no Womens pro infrastructure in Scotland. The league structure has only recently been tweaked to provide more playing opportunities and we still have under 1000 active players.

      A more cautious step by step approach makes sense. Going big now will surely result in failure as France and England use their scale as they did in the 6N to create teams that will crush any emerging teams – like the Scottish one would be.

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      • Agree with you Dom and my first question is £500k money well spent, in all probability not because effectively the squad will be no better in reality for the input, they are not going to change from effectively amateur players overnight just because they are being paid for ‘broken time’.
        The next step no doubt will be the begging bowl hanging out for a women’s professional side being promoted by the Marketing Suits in Dublin [that chummy little clique in the Shelbourne] and that will leach even more from SRU funds.
        It’s this desperate state of mind that has drifted into society of faux equality, hence the vacuous suggestion from Dublin that of all of a sudden there should be a Glasgow Gals team, or Edinburgh Ethels: is there even an amateur Womens Club competition in Scotland? Whether you cut a pizza in a dozen pieces or twenty-four it’s the same size.

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      • So the URC would like to setup a Pro league for womens teams, but we’d rather mess about and throw money at MLR and line Mr Dodsons pockets. We missed the boat with professional mens rugby so let’s not do the same with womens rugby. Funny how Ireland have been one of the best performing nations in world rugby for the last few years, wonder how they managed that? High salaries for the top man or developing players? Yes I’m aware Irelands women aren’t professional yet but the path is clear.

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