Fresh off the sport’s first-ever appearance at an Olympic Games, Gold medal winning coach Tim Walsh has called on the code to keep its foot on the pedal and continue to grow.
The HSBC Women’s Sevens World Series will feature six events this season compared to ten for the men, and Walsh believes parity would only see the game grow faster.
“I think it’s the way forward and to have the men’s and women’s tournaments to join,” Walsh said.
“I understand there are logistical concerns but to have the men and women playing together is only going to grow the women’s game faster.”
Speaking at the launch of the HSBC Sydney Sevens, where the women will feature on centre stage for the first time in an Australian leg of the World Series, Walsh’s sentiment was echoed by star back Charlotte Caslick.
“I think the women’s side of the game has so much to offer and we’re continuing to break new ground,” Caslick said.
“I think that is definitely where it needs to go but there’s still a bit of a way to get there.”
In 2016, the HSBC ‘Future of Rugby’ report predicted that women’s participation will double over the next ten years - rising to 6 million female players - accounting for 40% of all rugby players globally by 2026.
It’s a timely boost for the code with the expected announcement of a domestic women’s sevens competition set to launch in August this year.
The competition to act as a talent breeding ground with the women’s game boasting a packed schedule, including the Commonwealth Games and Sevens World Cup next year.
“You always have to keep evolving and we’re so lucky that the team is already quite young,” Walsh said.
“The average age of that Olympic team was 22 and to have that experience in the squad to develop the girls coming through is exactly where a coach wants his squad to be.”
The HSBC Sydney Sevens kicks off on Friday, February 3 at Allianz Stadium in Sydney. Tickets available HERE