England will send some of its top women’s players to a host of south-coast universities throughout the country to offer training tips to students.
Students at Portsmouth, Southampton, Brighton, Bournemouth, Surrey, Winchester, Southampton Solent, Sussex, Brighton and Chichester have been invited to four introduction sessions where they will be coached by members of the 2009 RBS 6 Nations winning team. England are also the reigning Nations Cup champions and will host the IRB Women's Rugby World Cup in August and September next year.
(Fiona Pocok left, is one of the players who will feature at the camps)
Clare Cooper, Women's Rugby Development Manager for the RFUW said: Women's university teams often recruit new players in Freshers' week only to lose them to other sports because the prospect of playing contact rugby is often daunting to those who have never played before. What we want to do through this programme is show them how they can play safely by learning tackling and handling skills.
Nick Parker, the University of Portsmouth's community rugby coach, added: This is a great initiative to introduce new players to the game. With England Women, finalists in the last two Rugby World Cups, helping to deliver the sessions it will give them the chance to learn from the very best.
We certainly hope this programme will help universities across the south to be more successful in recruiting and retaining players, which in turn will help develop their teams and strengthen the game of grassroots women's rugby.
The events are just some of the attempts being organised by the RFUW to build more exposure for the women's game and its top players in this World Cup season. Recently a series of double-headers involving Premiership and youth sides have been organised to give younger players a chance to meet leading England players and to watch them in action.