Rugby Australia announces further women's Rugby investment

Thu, Feb 15, 2024, 9:58 PM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson

Rugby Australia has confirmed an additional $3 million of funding towards Women's Rugby for 2024.

This will see a rise in investment, more tier-one contracts for Wallaroos players and higher player payments as the code looks to build a lasting legacy.

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In total, there will be 45 players contracted across three tiers (a rise from 35 in 2023), with eight of the new ten contracts coming at the top tier.

Players contracted at this highest tier can earn up to $72,458 per year from payments for Wallaroos and Super Rugby Women’s participation combined (a 28% increase from the maximum of $56,000 in 2023), not including additional club playments.

A new unlimited fourth tier will allow for greater flexibility, with additional players able to be brought into squads if they impress in Super Rugby Women's, where players will continue to receive the RA-funded minimum $4,000 to go with club payments.

It is the second phase of the planned increase in investment, which is a 61% increase from 2023, in itself a 60% rise compared to 2022.

The growth comes off the back of one of the most successful years in Wallaroos' history, finishing third in the WXV 1 competition in November.

“Rugby Australia is continuing to invest in Women’s Rugby – in 2023 we saw an additional $2 million of funding, we appointed the first full-time head coach of the Wallaroos, and the first dedicated women’s high-performance manager. “In 2024, we will see further increased player payments, multi-year contracts, and an increase in the number of the highest tier of contracts," Rugby Australia National Women’s High-Performance Manager Jaime Fernandez.

"Significantly, we are seeing Super Rugby clubs making similar commitments to the women's game, with increases in investment, and hiring of more dedicated staff within their women's programs.

“This investment and the structure that we are building has been developed to build a critical mass and retention of key players – steps that will support an increase in training hours and time spent together as a team, which we believe will lead to greater success at international level.

“We have loaded our Player Agreements towards the Tier 1 and Tier 2 categories, with most contracts at the highest tier tabled for two years to build stability for 2025.”

“We have identified Rugby Australia’s Sevens program as the benchmark for us to emulate, as one of the most elite full-time and fully professional women’s sports programs in the country – which has achieved remarkable success for more than a decade," RA CEO Phil Waugh added. “We saw a significant increase in participation among women and girls last year, and much of that was in Sevens.

“This followed an unprecedented 2022 when our Women’s Sevens team won all three major trophies on offer, proving that success can genuinely drive interest and participation – and this is the opportunity with Women’s XVs.

“We will continue to grow the women’s game in a sustainable and responsible way – we still have a lot of work to do, but the increase in our commitment over the last two years shows our determination to continue pushing forward.”