World Rugby announces Gallagher High Performance Academy extension

Academy designed to improve the pathway for women at elite levels of the sport is extended across all formats of the women’s game

World Rugby and Gallagher, a global insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting services firm, and an Official Partner of Women’s Rugby, WXV 2023 & 2024, and Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025, has announced the extension of the Gallagher High Performance Academy; the fully immersive global development and leadership programme, established in 2023, with the mission of increasing the prominence of female coaches and other high performance roles at elite levels of the sport.

The programme was introduced ahead of the inaugural WXV 15s tournament in 2023, and forms part of World Rugby’s strategic plan to accelerate the development of women’s rugby, and increase the competitiveness of the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 in England.

With a focus on talent identification, professional support and championing the next generation of international coaches, the Gallagher High Performance Academy develops existing coaching talent, and identifies opportunities for new coaches and other high performance roles.

Sixteen women, from 16 different nations, took part in the first Academy in 2023. Each of the participants were fully embedded with their respective nations, before and during WXV, providing them with meaningful professional development opportunities, as well as the opportunity to gain valuable experience of working in a high-performance sporting environment.

Off the field, participants received mentor support and took part in a series of online and in-person workshops, hosted by World Rugby and Gallagher. Workshops were tailored to cover a variety of topics, ranging from game planning, tactics and skill development, to relationships, communication and creating the right culture; as well as relevant, best practice learnings from Gallagher, sharing transferable skills.

As a result of the programme’s early success and impact, World Rugby is now extending the Gallagher High Performance Academy to all formats of the women’s game.

To signify this next phase for the programme, World Rugby has announced the latest 10 coaches to be inaugurated into the Gallagher High Performance Academy, in 2024. All 10 women are Sevens coaches, fresh from completing their first in-person workshops and having been embedded with their respective nations for the HSBC SVNS Series.

Profiles of each of the 2024 Gallagher High Performance Academy participants are available to view here. Additional female coaches from other formats of the game will be announced at a later time.

As part of the announcement, all 10 inaugurated coaches took part in a rugby coaching masterclass at Dignity Health Sports Park, in Los Angeles. The inductees staged a series of live coaching sessions, putting into practice the skills that they have been learning through the Academy and the in game live experience they have gained from being embedded in their respective teams for the HSBC World SVNS Series. They were joined by players and coaches from grassroots clubs within the local community, who benefitted from being coached by some of the most inspirational women in world rugby.

Speaking at the LAX masterclass, World Rugby Chief of Women’s Rugby, Sally Horrox said: “As we celebrate the second year of the Gallagher High Performance Academy by extending the reach of programme to encompass all formats of the women’s game, we are not just shaping coaches; we are sculpting the future of women’s rugby.

“Together with Gallagher, we continue to champion diversity, excellence, and inclusivity on and off the field. The Academy enables a clear pathway for aspiring female coaches and provides vitally important coaching opportunities as we strive towards our ambitious target of 40% female high performance coaching roles at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025. We are already starting to see the fruits of our labour as coaches progress into full time roles around the world.”

“We are proud of and excited for the extension of the Gallagher High Performance Academy into all formats of women’s rugby,” said Chris Mead, Chief Marketing Officer for Gallagher. “The growth of the programme is testament to its success and impact in its inaugural year, providing meaningful career development. Expanding the programme to make it more inclusive will further accelerate the growth of women’s rugby around the world and continue to raise opportunities for women both on and off the pitch.”


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