The WRU have announced plans for three new Player Development Centres, to continue the growth of Women’s rugby across the country. These centres will be stationed in East, West and North Wales, with the aim of developing the top young talent in Welsh Women’s rugby.
The three ‘PDC’ locations are Cardiff Metropolitan University (East Wales), Swansea University (West Wales) and Rygbi Gogledd Cymru at Parc Eiras (North Wales). Wales are a growing force within the Women’s side of the sport, which was best represented by their impressive performances throughout the 2023 TikTok Women’s Six Nations, and Qualification into WXV 1.
Wales finished third, with the likes of break-out stars Sisilia Tuipulotu establishing a new era for the Welsh Women’s team. Wales took the bronze medal after beating Ireland, Scotland and Italy, which has landed them the opportunity to compete in the inaugural WXV 1 competition, along with England and France in New Zealand this October.
Bristol Bears star Siwan Lillicrap is the former Wales captain and now WRU Pathway Manager and Age-Grade Coach. She said to the Wales Rugby website:
“This is a major development for Women’s rugby in Wales and will provide a real pathway for the talent we know we have to develop and an opportunity for players of potential to achieve their dream of playing elite rugby.
“It provides players in Wales a clear path to become elite players and, ultimately, an opportunity to play professional rugby and to represent Wales at the highest level.
“To have the commitment of sporting centres of excellence, like Cardiff Met, Swansea University and RGC, on board really demonstrates and acknowledges the exciting journey we are on.
“We have seen, with the national side’s recent performances, what the potential is on the field with their qualification for the WXV Tier 1 global tournament in New Zealand.
“And we have seen in the recent Six Nations that there is a real appetite and audience, with record crowds at Cardiff Arms Park, for women’s rugby. This development will give girls a real opportunity and a clear path to achieving their dreams of wearing the red of Wales.
“I would have loved to have this kind of opportunity when I started playing and it demonstrates the WRU’s commitment to Women’s rugby and acknowledges how far we have come.”
The aim of the PDCs is to deliver local and high-quality training and coaching programmes for high potential pre-elite female athletes, providing the next generation of talent for the elite, professional and international game.
The PDCs will work in partnership with Cardiff Met, Swansea University and RGC as a network and will identify between 25 and 35 players every year to be part of the programme. – Welsh Rugby Union
Ioan Cunningham, Wales Women’s Senior Head coach, said:
“The PDC’s are a real opportunity to invest in and hone the talent we have in Wales to a professional standard, with aligned skills and conditioning programmes, to allow us to compete at international level. That will allow the next generation of players to compete with the best in the world.”
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