Giselle Mather will take on the role of head coach for the Barbarians women's team in their first ever game against Munster next month. We asked her about the new challenge.
A former World Cup Winner, Mather is now Wasps Director of Rugby in the new Tyrrells Premier 15s, and she's excited about the challenge of becoming the first coach to head up a women's Barbarians outfit.
"It's a huge honour to be asked to coach the inaugural game. It is the most famous club side in the world and I grew up watching the Barbarians run, pass and offload their way to the try line. It was fabulous to watch and it is now really exciting to be a part of it and have the opportunity to facilitate that adventurous style of play for the players that will have the honour of wearing the shirt."
Mather will be joined on the sidelines by former Wales women's star and Welsh assistant coach Liza Burgess to prepare the team for the clash against Munster.
"For me personally to have the opportunity to prepare this side alongside Liza Burgess, whose rugby playing and coaching career speaks for itself, is hugely exciting and is another example of what Barbarian rugby achieves, bringing together like minded rugby folk to work together to play rugby in its purest form, learning from each other and enjoying each other's company."
With a squad that so far includes players like Canada's Kelly Russell and New Zealand's Emma Jenson, Mather adds that the oppotunity for players from all over the world to mix and play together will be unique.
"We will have a couple of days together as a squad when the players will have the opportunity to prepare for the game against Munster and foster the other huge unique quality of the Barbarians - that being fun and friendship. They will have the opportunity to mix with players from all over the world, experience their way of doing things and play with players they have previously only played against on an international field. The first squad will have players from France, Canada, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales with both current and ex internationals playing side by sid so it's something to hugely look forward to."
Mather is well placed to comment on the growth of the women's game on the commercial side, as a head coach at a new Premier 15s club in England, and believes the Barbarians match is another huge addition.
"The commitment of the Barbarians to bring the women's side into the club is in direct response to the growing excellence and popularity of the women's game as showcased by the recent World Cup where players from all over the world showed fantastic levels of physical fitness, great individual skill sets and huge competitive spirits and were cheered on by millions of fans who engaged with the tournament across the globe.
"Being a part of the new Tyrrells Premier 15s I can see this first hand for myself and it is a perfect time in my eyes to recognise these athletes by bringing them together to play alongside each other and to play a fast flowing dynamic style of rugby fit to grace this shirt."