• All nine Rugby World Cup 2021 qualified teams to avail of Coaching Internship Programme opportunity
  • Six RWC 2021 participating unions confirm coaching interns
  • Announcement marks one year to go until RWC 2021 with the tournament to be hosted for the first time in the southern hemisphere
  • Selected participants to be fully embedded in RWC 2021 national squad management teams for 12 months
  • RWC 2021 Coaching Internship Programme is fully funded by World Rugby, as part of IOC international development grant

World Rugby today announced that all nine qualified teams have confirmed they will avail of the unique Rugby World Cup 2021 Coaching Internship Programme with six coaches already identified to participate.

The transformational programme will create quality deployment opportunities for aspiring elite female coaches in high-performance environments, with selected participants to be fully embedded for 12 months in RWC 2021 national squad management teams.

The announcement comes as Rugby World Cup 2021 reaches one year to go with the flagship women’s tournament set to kick off on 18 September, 2021. It is the first time the tournament will be played in the southern hemisphere with defending champions New Zealand set to host the ninth edition in Auckland and Whangarei.  

Confirmed Rugby World Cup 2021 coach interns:

  • Canada – Maria Gallo [MORE] Former Canadian 15s and sevens international, Rugby Canada Hall of Fame inductee, former head coach of UBC (University of British Columbia) Thunderbirds women’s rugby programme and current Canada Women’s 15s assistant coach
  • France – Céline Allainmat: Former France 15s and sevens international, current coach at Stade Rennais Rugby
  • USA – Kate Daley [MORE] Former USA 15s international, head coach of Penn State Women's Rugby and assistant coach of USA Women's 15s team
  • England – Amy Turner [MORE] Former England 15s and sevens international and current RFU Professional Pathway Officer and Women’s Performance Pathway coach
  • South Africa – Laurian Johannes [MORE] Former South Africa 15s international and current South Africa Women’s U20 head coach
  • Australia – Inge Visser [MORE] Former Netherlands 15s and sevens international, former head coach University of New England Rugby Lions

Fiji, New Zealand and Wales will confirm participating female coaches at a later stage this year and the remaining three teams to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2021 will also be afforded the opportunity to identify female coaches to participate in the innovative programme.

In line with the ‘developing inspirational leadership’ strand of the 2017-25 Women in Rugby strategic plan, World Rugby is committed to supporting the development of female coaches in the sport and has set an ambitious target of a minimum of 40 per cent of all coaches at Rugby World Cup 2025 to be women.

World Rugby General Manager for Women’s Rugby Katie Sadleir said: “We are delighted to see all qualified participating unions take the opportunity to expand and diversify their coaching teams for Rugby World Cup 2021 and continue to support the development of female coaches through the Coaching Internship Programme.

“Creating quality deployment opportunities for female coaches is a crucial and necessary step to ensuring they have relevant, meaningful experience, which we know is a barrier for female coaches when applying for high-performance coaching positions across both the men’s and women’s game.”

World Rugby Women’s Advisory Committee Chair Serge Simon added: “The Coaching Internship Programme is a simple but effective way to accelerate the professional development of high-performance female coaches. Congratulations to all who have been identified by their respective unions to participate and we look forward to following their journey as they are embedded into Rugby World Cup 2021 senior coaching management teams.”

The Rugby World Cup 2021 Coaching Internship Programme is funded as part of the International Olympic Committee’s international development grant awarded to World Rugby.

The programme is an outcome from the comprehensive Women’s High-Performance Coaching review, with the report’s findings highlighting a significant lack of female representation at high-performance coaching level. The ground-breaking Coaching Internship Programme aims to address the lack of female coaches at high-performance level across men’s and women’s rugby.