Rugby: Scotland women get 'unprecedented' financial package to prepare for World Cup

Scotland’s women will benefit from a £500,000 financial support package to prepare for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand this autumn, the governing body has announced.

Scottish Rugby has agreed individual financial agreements with a total of 36 players ahead of the tournament, Scotland’s first World Cup for 12 years.

The funding model continues the approach currently in place which pays players for time taken out of work or study, in line with their current personal salaries.

The “unprecedented” package, which takes Scottish Rugby’s investment in the women’s squad above £500,000 in 2022, will enable players to train and fully prepare for the pinnacle event in the rugby calendar over the next four months.

Head coach Bryan Easson will have access to his squad over 11 weeks of training, including two full match-weeks ahead of two warm-up fixtures before the team travel to New Zealand in late September.A revised funding model will then begin after the tournament, in line with the new women and girls game strategy being launched this week.

It will cover the next World Cup cycle and outline how Scotland will aim to qualify for the next global tournament in 2025.

Scottish Rugby director of high performance Jim Mallinder explained: “Everyone involved in our Scotland women programme has worked tirelessly over the past 18 months to get us to the point where our team will compete at a World Cup.

“The players are completely committed to taking this opportunity to perform on the global stage and we are backing them with one of the largest investment programmes the female game in Scotland has seen.

Scotland captain Rachel Malcolm has hailed Scottish Rugby's financial support package. Picture: Ross MacDonald / SNS

“Head coach Bryan Easson will have access to the players at an unprecedented level and the individual funding agreements have been discussed and agreed with every player and Rugby Players Scotland, so we are all aligned.”

Easson described the news as “a huge boost to our preparations”.

Captain Rachel Malcolm added: “We have a real opportunity now to get ourselves in the best possible shape to compete at the Rugby World Cup and inspire the next generation.”