Source: World Rugby

More Good News – now from Australia

  • +1

Rugby Australia has announced yet another extension of its financial backing for the women’s game. They will be investing an extra $3m this year.

This marks a third annual advance since 2022, part of a planned progression. The number of contracted players rises from 35 to 45, though split across three tiers. It’s a pleasant change to find specific sums mentioned in this connection. The maximum quoted is $72,458 pa, as against $56,000 last year.

The news is significant on several fronts:

First, it reaffirms RA’s intention to give more weight to the Wallaroos’ 15s programme, which has long languished behind the all-conquering 7s.

Second, it implies that money is not as short as it has so often appeared to be. ‘Sorry, but we can’t afford that yet.’

Third, the Wallaroos 15s squad may well become the major threat they might always have been, had they received full backing from the start. For some years they managed to hold on to a world position of around 5th, despite a lack of regular fixtures and minimal support. Now, after finishing third in the inaugural WXV, they can hold their heads hight, with the stats there to prove their worth.

Fourth, they have their full-time coach, Jo Yapp, in place. It still cannot be easy assembling the troops, but with the advent of more contracts and a higher rate of pay, the difficulties caused by long distances may now be reduced. ‘The more we are together, the better we shall be.’ And in Yapp’s care they can be assured of the latest techniques in coaching, keeping up-to-date with innovative trends.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that new hands are on the tiller at RA. Peter Horne is the new Director of High Performance, and Phil Waugh, an ex-Wallaby himself, is a proactive CEO.

It’s a moot point whether more Wallaroos will be encouraged to shift across to England to join a PWR club. It would be nice to think that will no longer be necessary.

The shift in the balance of power may even now be felt, not least across the Tasman, where the Black Ferns still have problems to solve. Canada and USA too may feel the effects of Aussie advance. The four nations are due to meet again in the Pacific-4 series; battle will be waged between 27 April and 25 May.

Rugby Union in Australia has had to fight its own corner of the sporting field against Rugby League, Australian Rules and Soccer, quite apart from other less similar sports like cricket. Can it be that this latest enhancement may encourage more participation? That must be an underlying hope for RA.

Now they can measure their advance by the three results they obtained in WXV. Before the two great wins over France 29-20 and Wales 25-19, they lost 42-7 to England. They may well see that last margin as the one they would most like to narrow.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *