Welsh Rugby Union: First female full-time professional contracts awarded | Rugby Union News

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Alisha Butchers, Natalia John, Siwan Lillicrap, Carys Phillips, Gwenllian Pyrs, Donna Rose and Keira Bevan, Hannah Jones, Jasmine Joyce, Ffion Lewis, Lisa Neumann, Elinor Snowsill all awarded full-time contracts based out of National Centre of Excellence

Last Updated: 12/01/22 9:19am

The Welsh Rugby Union have awarded their female athletes with full-time contracts for the first time

Full-time contracts have been awarded to a dozen of Wales’ leading female players by the Welsh Rugby Union for the first time.

Alisha Butchers, Natalia John, Siwan Lillicrap, Carys Phillips, Gwenllian Pyrs, Donna Rose and Keira Bevan, Hannah Jones, Jasmine Joyce, Ffion Lewis, Lisa Neumann, Elinor Snowsill, are the first full-time athletes.

The 12-month deals, a first for the women’s game in Wales, came into force this week with players and management based at the National Centre of Excellence.

The 12 full-time athletes will be joined by 15 other players who will be awarded ‘retainer contracts’, those names have not yet been announced.

“This is a very proud day for us as a governing body,” Steve Phillips, the WRU chief executive said. “I am very pleased to be able to say we have our first full-time female players who will represent Wales on the international stage.

“This is set to be a very demanding but unforgettable year for women’s rugby and these players – along with the players on retainer contracts and other squad members – will benefit from the full range of our expert on and off-field support to help them reach their potential. This is the start of an exciting journey for women and girls in Wales.”

The historic awarding of 12 full-time contracts will enable all these players to be full-time professionals and have regular, weekly contact with head coach Ioan Cunningham, the rest of the coaches and our expert science and medical team. All of this will make a significant difference to the players’ preparation, fitness and skill sets in order to enable us to challenge the best teams in the world.

Nigel Walker – WRU Performance Director

“It’s been a tough but enjoyable process. Credit to all the players who have given us selection headaches,” Ioan Cunningham, Wales Women head coach said. “We are all now super excited to get the programme started.

“Talent and ability was the first element in our selection process and then the potential growth of the individual player along with their attitude.

“The conversations offering contracts were nice ones to have if often quite emotional. Some of the players had logistic issues to work through from a personal and professional perspective, but it’s great to have them at the National Centre of Excellence now as we start to put the foundations in place for improvement.

“We have developed close working relationships with the players’ Allianz Premier 15s clubs and I’m confident our programme will prove beneficial for all parties.”

The 2022 Women’s Six Nations starts on March 26, with Wales Women travelling to Ireland for their first match of the competition. They will also travel away to England, alongside hosting Scotland, France and Italy during the tournament.

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