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Thread: Women's Rugby in Australia

  1. #1
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    Women's Rugby in Australia

    The one beaming light for Australian Rugby at this point is the Women's game, both the much celebrated and successful Sevens program and now the Wallaroos.

    2029 is to Women's Rugby in Australia as 2027 is to Men's, a Home RWC to maximise exposure to the Code.
    As such, Rugby Australia need to do all in their power to make the Women's game successful in all meanings of the word.
    The advantage is there is an extra two years for this to be worked on and, while no Lions Tour, there is an interim World Cup in England prior to Australia's Hosting Men's and then Women's.

    Quoted in his recent article, Morgan Turinui stated "Our women's sevens post the 2024 Paris Olympics should play 15s as well."
    While not all Sevens players (some of the women are just too small for the XV variation) in principle I fully support this. By and large this involves Backs, with the odd Backrow.
    The narrative would be the current amazing Sevens Squad have the opportunity to pursue the Olympic dream at the 2024 Olympics France in July, then transition into XV's through 2024/25 for the 2025 WRWC England in August/September followed by the pinnacle of the Home RWC.
    This allows plenty of time for a succession in the Sevens Squad to be developed, while some of the more suited players transition to the XV's. Obviously, if it is a planned pathway, then you would see some of the candidates playing Provincial when able prior to the Olympics.

    Leading candidates-
    The inspirational Captain Charlotte Caslick who, as already Australia's leading scorer, try scorer and Caps played, at then 29 would likely be ready for a different challenge having at least one Gold (Rio 2016) and by then three Olympics. To be fair, after an enormous career at the highly aerobic Sevens, her career there would likely be near an end anyway. Caslick is a walking billboard for the sport, but also a seriously fierce competitor, talented player and respected leader.

    Maddison Levi is an imposing Winger who would be a natural fit in XV's and as currently 21 she has a long future ahead.

    Younger (20) sister Teagan Levi is also a huge talent.

    The 20 year old, 85kg Wing, Bienne Terita has already been capped in both forms of Union and was missed in the W.XV1 Tournament.

    Other contenders would be Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, Lily Dick, Isabella Nasser and Dom Du Toit.

    This season has seen the 22 year old Wallaroos Captain, Piper Duck, missing through injury, but in spite of such a young age is showing great maturity and a force for other players to follow.

    With a growing Professional aspect to the Code, Union needs to be even more active in Women's than Men's as League (and AFL) continue to rapidly expand it's footprint, laying claim to Australia's elite potential contact sportswomen and under age. AFLW currently have 18 x 30 player Squads for 540. NRLW 10 x 26 players for 260. SuperW 5 x 38 players for 190.

    In August players issued a public ultimatum to Rugby Australia, desperate for creating a future for Women's Rugby in Australia, citing that the Men's partners were amazingly "getting" more money than the Women's players! Since then there has been an exodus of significant players to League.
    Players like Grace Hamilton, Grace Kemp, Mahalia Murphy and Emma Tonegato need to be brought back to the new money, while semi professional pathways in less traditional sports (basketball, softball etc) need to be explored for suitable young "chassis" to develop.

    Established NRL players with varying (but strong) levels of Union (XV's &/or 7's) history include-
    Shenae Ciesiolka, Millie Boyle, Shannon Mato, Pauline Piliae-Rasabale, Kennedy Cherrington, Yasmin Clydsdale, Simaima Taufa, Jessika Elliston, Lauren Brown, Jakiya Whitfeld, Zahara Temara, Sophie Holyman, Tiana Penitani, Vanessa Foliaki, Evania Pelite, Emily Bass, Shanice Parker, Hannah Southwell, Jesse Southwell, Tiana Davison, Nita Maynard, Fran Goldthorp,
    Tallisha Harden, April Ngatupuna, Shontelle Stowers, Raecene McGregor, Jayme Fressard.

    Rugby Australia need to look at the century of Men's competition for players in this country and get on the front foot before the Women's Code "horse" also bolts. Much has been made of appealing to philanthropic investment from the likes of Twiggy, this just may be the "wholesome pathway" that is removed from the argy-bargy of Eastern Suburbs Fiefdom egos and sufficiently attractive to a Twiggy or a Gina to sit down with Rugby Australia.

    Women's sport, when handled correctly, has been demonstrated to be profitable and appealing to many in the community. It is also an avenue to advertising revenue. The Matilda's have shown the path, Rugby Australia have the opportunity to show true leadership in creating genuine pathways and careers for the young women playing the sport in this country.

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    I think, based upon results this year, that the way to improve rugby performance in Australian teams is to have Rugby Australia ignore you.

    7s is almost an AOC deal now, with most of the funding coming from there, wallaroos are paid pocket change, have a part time coach and probably cook sausages outside Bunnings to fund their airfares. 3rd in WXV1 is a level the wallabies don't even have the right to dream about now.

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