Women’s Sport: RFU targeting 50,000 women’s rugby players by 2021


The RFU have announced plans to place an emphasis on the growth of women’s rugby at all levels. 

Grassroots rugby has experienced massive growth in recent years. The number of women and girls registered to play for clubs has risen from 25,000 in 2017 to 37,000 as of now. 

The goal for the RFU is to increase this number to 50,000 by 202, meaning that participation would’ve doubled in just a four year period.

The RFU’s “Women and Girls” action plan has a seven pillar strategy for achieving this aim. These are, playing opportunities, playing pool, people, player pathway, perceptions, partnerships and places.

They will also work closely with their football counterparts, and exchange strategy tips with the Lionesses to consider the learning points.

Given the recent controversy surrounding the Women’s Six Nations and the lack of prize-money, perhaps the most fundamental of these strategies is changing perceptions.

The RFU plans to look at their reach and the channels they are using, to educate people on women’s rugby, exemplify its existence, stress its accessibility and urge others to consider its potential.

By changing perceptions, the RFU are confident that a change in culture and mindset will follow.

It is with this envisaged culture shift, that targeting long-term partnerships, and bettering playing opportunities can follow suit.

The current state of the Women’s Six Nations and international women’s rugby, in general, is utterly unacceptable at the minute. To change the way the game is marketed and the way the game is sponsored, we must first change the way it is perceived.

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