Marinos opens up on further women's investment, combined Super W/Aupiki competition

Tue, Feb 7, 2023, 10:18 PM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Fijiana Drua were looking to create history against a Waratahs side who held the Super W trophy since inception.

RA CEO Andy Marinos has revealed a combined trans-Tasman women's competition could happen as early as this year.

Marinos made the comments after confirming Jay Tregonning will remain as Wallaroos' coach for 2023.

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The re-appointment came after Tregonning took the largely semi-professional program to the World Cup quarter-finals, knocked out by juggernauts England.

They were also beaten by the Black Ferns on the opening day, with both teams ending up in the deciding game as the better-funded teams naturally dominated the tournament.

Having shown their competitiveness against the best teams in the world, Marinos was eager to fast-track investment as they prepare to lay out the plan towards the eventual professionalisation of the program in the coming days.

“It’s very much in our focus. We’re going to make some announcements later on in the week around what that looks like but we are fully committed to continual investment and building that Wallaroos program up,” Marinos told reporters.

“We’re looking to build into ’25 and into ’29…we’ll look to make further announcements in the next week but we’re excited about the women’s program.

“The need (for investment) was identified into the World Cup and we’ve seen the success of a systematic and organic investment into the Women’s Sevens program and the benefits. Obviously, going into the World Cup last year knowing we’re aware of the investment other programs have had and (it's) absolutely a priority of the board to keep abreast of that. 

“There’s definitely progressions towards a full-time, professional Wallaroos program,” Tregonning added. 

“I agree in regards to the investment within teams and where they finish within the ranking last year. We’ve got that many talented athletes in Australia and we want to keep promoting the game to attract as many of those girls into Rugby.”

With that comes a growth in the domestic competition in Marinos' eyes, currently involving the five Australian clubs and Fijian Drua.

The potential of a Super W/Aupiki crossover comp was flagged at the end of last year when the future of Super Rugby Pacific was confirmed.

As a number of Wallaroos head overseas for further opportunities, both Marinos and Tregonning were buoyed by the prospect of testing themselves against the best.

“At a worse case, next year,” Marinos responded when asked about the competition.

“We certainly as RA (Rugby Australia) want to have that in place for next year. We’re also working closely with World Rugby as part of an overall strategic view that we’ve done into the women’s program and how we can invest additional money into competition structures which will be part of the high-performance piece from World Rugby.

“As all those pieces come together, we’ll certainly be solidifying those plans around where Super W goes.

“The girls overseas are pursuing the chance to play a higher level of Rugby on a more regular basis so to bring that home would only make us stronger,” Tregonning believes.

“A strong competitive Super W program makes a stronger Wallaroos and that’s definitely something that we look forward to seeing in the future.”

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