SA women’s rugby gets strategic boost

SA Rugby has refocused its approach to women’s rugby by appointing former Ireland captain Lynne Cantwell as the first-ever high-performance manager.

The Springbok Women will take part in the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in September with the support of SA Rugby’s first high-performance manager for Women’s Rugby.

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SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux announced that Cantwell had been lured to South Africa to fill the role in a departmental rejigging.

‘If we’re serious about women’s rugby – and we are – we had to make a serious appointment, and we have,’ Roux said.

‘Lynne comes on board at a time when we have committed to growing the game among women – a directive from World Rugby and a South African national imperative – and she will work closely with Rassie Erasmus [Director of Rugby], Charles Wessels [GM: Rugby] and Springbok Women’s head coach Stanley Raubenheimer to improve the women’s game in South Africa.’

Cantwell holds a degree in Sports and Exercise Science from the University of Limerick in Ireland and has a Masters in Physiotherapy from Southampton University in England. The former outside centre, who amassed 86 Test caps for Ireland, said joining SA Rugby affords her a number of exciting challenges.

‘Globally women’s rugby has been recognised as the strategic growth area for the game where it is experiencing rapid transformation as a result of World Rugby’s focus.

‘At SA Rugby, we are committed to progress but recognise the work that needs to be done to repair and rebuild in order to move forward.

‘I think the women’s rugby community in South Africa has a unique identity and strength, with a bright future. I look forward to working with everyone to design an environment that allows South African women’s talent to thrive.

‘I am excited and naturally a bit nervous about the big move over to South Africa for me and my family, but I feel incredibly comforted by the warm welcome I have been given internally at SA Rugby, by the players and management, and the provincial CEOs.

‘I am intensely motivated to progress women’s rugby and women’s involvement in rugby, and the backing on a leadership level from Jurie, Rassie and Charles was central to my decision to join the team.’

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Photo: SA Rugby

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Dylan Jack