In Brief

RFU plans to make women’s rugby fully professional in England

Sport’s governing body wants to professionalise women’s 15s and sevens during the coming season

The chief executive of the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) has revealed plans to make the women’s game fully professional.

RFU chief Steve Brown told the BBC that professional status in women’s rugby could be introduced as early as this season. 

Despite reaching the 2017 World Cup final, where they lost to New Zealand, contracts were not renewed for the England women’s 15-a-side squad. The BBC reports that priority was given to the England women’s sevens game.

Brown told the BBC: “Our ambition is to professionalise both the XVs and sevens game during the coming season. We’ve had a half-and-half situation for the last couple of seasons but we will professionalise both games as quickly as we can possibly afford it.”

On the past decision to focus on sevens and not 15s, Brown said: “The sevens contracts was a compromise position. We want to get both of them fully established, but one key thing is we need to have enough players in the system to make it work.” Growing participation was crucial, he said, adding: “we need talent coming through”.

The Daily Telegraph reported in April that the RFU was considering the “dramatic about-turn” to reinstate contracts for women’s XVs players after the decision was “widely denounced” within the sport. 

But the success of the revamped Tyrrells Premier 15s has “prompted the RFU to review their original decision”, says the Telegraph.

Clark announces international retirement

Rochelle Clark, England’s most-capped player of all time, has retired from international rugby, the BBC reports. 

The 37-year-old won 137 caps in 15 years for England but will continue to play for club side Wasps in the Tyrrells Premier 15s.

The prop, who is nicknamed ‘Rocky’, said: “Getting my first cap was out of this world but to hit the cap record and surpass Jason Leonard, it’s been a dream come true. There have been highs and lows but I’ve loved every minute of it.”

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