Empowering the Future of Irish Women’s Rugby: IRFU’s Transformative Strategic Plan

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has unveiled a groundbreaking strategic plan that places the women’s game at the forefront. With a focus on delivering inspiring and inclusive experiences, driving high-performance ambition, and accelerating growth, the IRFU’s ‘Inspire, Connect, Thrive’ initiative sets the stage for a transformative era in Irish women’s rugby.

IRFU Unveils New Strategic Plan: Inspiring the Women’s Game

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has unveiled its new strategic plan, “Inspire, Connect, Thrive,” which places the women’s game at the forefront. The plan, developed over 15 months with input from over 5,000 stakeholders, will be implemented from 2024 to 2028.

Prioritizing the Women’s Game

The strategy prioritizes four key areas:

  1. Delivering great rugby experiences
  2. Driving high-performance ambition
  3. Accelerating the women’s game
  4. Inspiring fans

The IRFU aims to create “inspiring and truly inclusive experiences” to attract and retain participants in the women’s game, while also growing sustainable environments for lifelong opportunities.

“Our vision is simple – Inspire, Connect and Thrive,” expressed IRFU Chief Executive Kevin Potts, emphasizing the importance of accelerating the women’s game, which represents a significant opportunity for the union.

Ambitious Goals for the Women’s Teams

Concerning the women’s teams, the plan outlines the goal of establishing four contracted provincial teams and achieving 40% female representation in governance at the provincial and club levels. Additionally, the IRFU will focus on enhancing talent identification, high-performance pathways, and dynamic marketing campaigns to support the women’s game.

The announcement comes after the Ireland women’s 15s team secured a place in the 2025 Women’s Rugby World Cup and the 2024 WXV 1 competition, following a successful third-place finish in the 2023 Women’s Six Nations. The team also won the inaugural WXV 3 tournament earlier this year, including a record-breaking 109-0 victory over Kazakhstan.

Moreover, the Ireland women’s sevens team will make their Olympic debut at the Paris 2024 Games, having finished seventh in the 2023 HSBC SVNS Series and claiming a gold medal in Perth.

Collaborative Approach to Development

IRFU Strategy & Projects Manager Kate Binchy highlighted the collaborative nature of the plan’s development, with over 5,000 stakeholders contributing their views. This diverse input ensures that all constituent parts of Irish rugby are aligned with the collective vision and roadmap outlined in the strategy.

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