Scotland’s top players will be offered fulltime professional contracts following the World Cup later this year.
At the launch of their new women and girls strategy taking them up to 2026, Scottish Rugby announced that 30 players would be handed deals, meaning that the only current women’s Six Nations team playing on an amateur basis is Ireland.
The Irish are understood to be exploring deals for their players at the moment in time for next year's Six Nations.
Scottish Rugby also confirmed that they will invest in two semi-professional women’s sides in Scotland to compete in a proposed cross border competition in partnership with other unions. This is not thought to relate to the English league but rather a competitoin eventually involving Irish and Welsh teams
The union said that last year it invested £1.6m directly into the women and girls’ game last year and had now agreed to an additional investment of up to £2.5m covering the first year of the strategy, taking the total women and girls’ funding to £4.1m, more than double the previous year’s allocation.
Scotland’s Head of Women and Girls’ Strategy, Gemma Fay said: “This is an extremely exciting time to be involved in women and girl’s rugby and I feel privileged to have been able to work with a fantastic group of people, both within Scottish Rugby and within rugby in Scotland, who are equally excited by the opportunities we see in front of us.
“This strategy will enable us to channel the passion, enthusiasm and interest that there is for the game within Scotland and ultimately grow the sport. We will focus on connecting all aspects of what it takes to develop a sustainable, thriving game to ensure that we support our clubs to build capacity, establish a clear pathway for our players and people and ensure Scotland Women are supported to be successful on the international stage.
New targets have also been set as part of the strategy including a top four finish by the 2024 Women’s Six Nations, a top eight finish at the 2025 World Cup and attendance at Scotland women’s games to increase to 7,000 by 2026.
Other new activities outlined includes new national age grade programmes, new regional training centres and investment into state school competitions.
Read the full strategy here.