Planet Rugby

England Women Sevens go professional

25th August 2014 09:11

Share:

RUGBY RUGBY UNION ENGLAND CELEB WORLD CUP

History: England Women

Twenty players, who will make up the England Women's Sevens squad this coming season, have been awarded central contracts from the Rugby Football Union starting in September 2014.

Twelve of those who were involved in last week's Rugby World Cup victory will be among the 20 receiving full-time funding for the first time ever in a significant step forward for the women's game.

The squad will compete on the IRB Sevens World Series circuit this season as they seek qualification as Great Britain for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The programme will see the England players train five days a week throughout the season, excluding tournament time, at Twickenham Stadium and Surrey Sports Park in Guildford. There, they will receive strength and conditioning, medical, nutritional, lifestyle and psychological support.

The programme will be run by the RFU's Head of Women's Performance Nicola Ponsford and England Women's Sevens Head Coach Simon Middleton, who was part of the Rugby World Cup winning coaching team. Middleton will be assisted by coaching staff from the England Women's set-up.

Players will be awarded the central contracts on a yearly basis and they will still be expected to play international XVs and Premiership rugby.

"This is fantastic news for the sport and exactly what we need as an England squad to continue to be at the top of our sport on a global scale," said England's World Cup-winning captain Katy Mclean.

"I am extremely excited about this new challenge and where this full time programme can take us as an England team."

"We are delighted to be able to offer a full time Sevens programme for next season. We are really excited by the opportunity and feel that this will enable us to compete on a global level," said Ponsford.

"The inclusion of Sevens in the Olympics has meant that a significant number of sides we are competing against have been full time for a year or more.

"We have been planning to do this for some time but we needed to make sure that we could focus on the XVs Rugby World Cup whilst also ensuring we had the building blocks in place to guarantee that a full-time programme is effective. With two years to go until the 2016 Olympics Games we felt this was the right time to move forward."

The RFU is currently finalising the next phase of the Performance Strategy taking the England Women's squads through to, and beyond, the 2016 Olympics Games and the 2017 XVs Rugby World Cup.

"We will carefully consider the amount of time we need to have with both XVs and Sevens players over this period to ensure that we are in the best place to not only retain the 2017 Rugby World Cup but challenge effectively in Sevens also. Both of these goals are of the utmost importance," added Ponsford.

"We need to ensure that the foundations are in place through the RFU Player Pathway, the domestic game and international programme to ensure a long term sustainable and successful game for both XVs and Sevens rugby."

England Sevens Squad:

*Claire Allan (Richmond), *Natasha Brennan (Richmond), *Rachael Burford (Thurrock), Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond), *Heather Fisher (Worcester), Francesca Matthews (Richmond), Sarah McKenna (Saracens), *Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), *Marlie Packer (Wasps), *Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), Michaela Staniford (Wasps), *Danielle Waterman (Bristol), Joanne Watmore (Richmond), Amy Wilson-Hardy (Bristol), *Natasha Hunt (Lichfield). *Alexandra Matthews (Richmond), *Katherine Merchant (Worcester), Leanne Riley (Saracens), Emily Scott (Thurrock), *Kay Wilson (Bristol)

*Denotes Rugby World Cup winner

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs SaracensMunster vs Saracens Preview
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Preview
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks15:15
Castres vs Leinster13:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs London IrishGrenoble vs London Irish Preview
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
Thursday , October 16
Gloucester 55 - 0 BriveGloucester vs Brive Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , October 12
Wasps 29 - 22 BathWasps vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Ospreys 26 - 15 Cardiff BluesOspreys vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 21 - 10 ToulonToulouse vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615