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RFU launches £10m action plan to engage 100,000 more women and girls in rugby

The RFU and Sport England will invest £10m to get 100,000 more women and girls playing rugby over the next four years, it has been announced.
The 'action plan', to be delivered by England Rugby, is part of the RFU’s strategy for 2017 to 2021 and aims to:
• Engage 100,000 more females in rugby, converting 25,000 of these into new players;
• Have active senior women's teams in 100 more clubs • Increase the number of active adult women’s teams by 350;
• Increase the number of girls engaged in rugby through CBRE All Schools;
•Encourage more women to become team managers, volunteers, coaches and referees.
"At the time of the 1991 Women’s Rugby World Cup there were around 35 English clubs with women’s sides, compared with over 300 rugby clubs now hosting women’s and girls’ teams, and girls playing in schools and clubs at age group levels," said Deborah Griffin, women’s and girls' representative on the RFU Council.
"A huge amount has been achieved. My biggest wish is to see all women and girls able to play at their local club, with coaching and development as good as for boys and men.”
There are currently 512 women and girls teams in England and 27,500 existing players. Since 2013, the number of women and girls playing contact rugby has increased by over 10,000, partly as a result of campaigns including Pitch up and Play and Inner Warrior.
The surge in popularity has seen 300 rugby clubs providing playing opportunities for more than 25,000 women and girls each season.
"Over the past four years our focus has been on working with volunteers in constituent bodies and clubs to successfully grow the numbers of girls and women playing and enjoying rugby," said Steve Grainger, RFU Rugby Development Director.
"We’ve achieved great growth and exceeded our targets, with some 27,500 female players currently registered.
"Our current achievements are only the beginning and we’re determined to enable as many women and girls as possible to experience and enjoy taking part in rugby union."
To read England Rugby’s women and girls action plan, click here.