Levelling the Playing Field Grant

Levelling the Playing Field Grant

Player and coach development

Through our Group partnership with The British & Irish Lions, we're passionate about creating real change for women's rugby. We know that to do that, more investment is needed on long-term development initiatives.

That's why Royal London is committing to a £3 million Levelling the Playing Field Grant for player and coach development in the Horne Unions, including women's training camps, in the lead up to the first ever Lions Women's tour. The grants will support women's player and coach pathways to increase overall standards and promote equality amongst the Unions ahead of the 2027 Howden Lions Women's Tour in New Zealand.

The partnership with The British & Irish Lions will support each of the Home Unions with developing a three-year plan, tailored to each Unions specific coaching and player needs, details of which can be found below. The Unions will also work collaboratively to share non-proprietary research, ideas and experiences with each other.

Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU)

  • host additional U18 and U20 camps and training matches to accelerate player development.
  • Develop a 'Coach Accelerator Scholarship Program' to accelerate coach capability and long-term career progression.
  • Work with universities to identify the future talent and unearth potential high-performance players.

Rugby Football Union (RFU)

  • Develop it's 'Player Development Groups', boosting the overall player experience journey and increasing the targeted skill development of players coming through the pathway.
  • Invest in strength and conditioning staaff and development coaches within these centres to improve the support available to the players. 

Scottish Rugby (SR)

  • Recruit for two new Performance Pathway coaches.
  • Host additionalU18 and U20 camps and training matches to accelerate development within the teams.
  • Host residential camps for a national academy that brings together the best pipeline players in Scotland.

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU)

  • Stenghtem coaching staff with five new members; a Performance Pathway Coach, Physical Development Lead, Performance Pathway scientist. a set piece coach and a specialist skills coach.
  • Invest in talent identification and screening across the country.

Story Shirt

To represent the Royal London investment into aspiring rugby players and coaches across Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, Royal London commissioned a bespoke shirt to showcase what this investment will mean for women in rugby. Matthias  Hamzaoui, an artist and calligrapher, has designed the shirt using his iconic grayscale portraiture surrounded with typography quoting players, coaches and staff from across the four national women's programmes on what this £3 million bursary means for them. 

Lions Women's Shirt