The future of girls’ rugby in Canterbury is bright, with the launch of a new ‘Let Her Play’ campaign aimed at supporting the skill development of teenage girls in Canterbury.
On Friday 9 June, the Canterbury Rugby Union launched the program with the first session of a ‘Friday Nights Under Lights’ mini-series at Rugby Park. The series, which invites girls aged 13-16 to participate in training sessions, is focused on a combination of education, skill development and game time with the support of experienced coaches and former players.
CRFU Community Rugby Manager Emma Weenink said the ‘Let Her Play’ program was about opening doors and it was encouraging to see a number of young women of varying abilities joining the group: “It was exciting to welcome these girls into our high performance facilities which are normally reserved for professional male players, and have them learn new skills from world-class coaches and players.
“We recognise there are currently limited opportunities for teenage girls who wish to play rugby, but we’re hopeful that the ‘Let Her Play’ program will help us grow our registered players, so that we can establish a Saturday competition in 2018", Weenink said.
35 players are currently registered for the ‘Let Her Play’ program, with the remaining sessions to take place on 16th, 23rd and 30th June. CRFU CEO Nathan Godfrey was quick to acknowledge the positive support the CRFU program has received from the likes of Crusaders Assistant Coach Brad Mooar and IHPU Manager John Haggart: “This week, Canterbury Womens’ Assistant Coach and ex-Black Ferns player Mel Ruscoe is also investing time in the girls development", said Godfrey.
The launch of the ‘Let Her Play’ campaign coincides with the International Women’s Rugby Series currently underway in New Zealand. Rugby Park is hosting the Black Ferns, Australia, Canada and England today, in what is the first time international Womens’ rugby has been played in Christchurch for 20 years.