UPPING THE GAME: SA Rugby Union pledges to boost professional women’s league

UPPING THE GAME: SA Rugby Union pledges to boost professional women’s league

The South African Rugby Union (Saru) and World Rugby have been in a two-day workshop in Cape Town this week to discuss the growth of women’s rugby in the country.

Top of the agenda is establishing a professional domestic women’s rugby league in South Africa by 2025. Saru is looking to add to women’s sports in the country by professionalising its domestic structures after cricket recently did the same.

There have been promises for soccer to experience the same long-awaited revolution – particularly after Banyana Banyana’s strong showing at the World Cup last year – but nothing has come of it so far.

Saru president Mark Alexander explained the challenges that women’s sports face in the country.

“We’re not a first-world country,” he said. “We don’t have the support that first-world countries pump into sport. We understand that.

“As South African Rugby (Saru), the majority of our funds we raise ourselves. Government gives us a grant but the grant is not big enough to do what we want to do.

women's rugby

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander at the Women’s Rugby workshop with World Rugby at Southern Sun Newlands in Cape Town on 13 May 2024. (Photo: Ashley Vlotman / Gallo Images)

“We need to find innovative ways to achieve our objectives. We want to unlock the corporate space.

“We want to back women’s sports… There are opportunities but we just need to change the mindset locally and we need support for the women’s game.”

Cricket South Africa was assisted with a R15-million boost by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, to help assist in the professionalisation of the sport.

Saru is looking at taking a similar approach in its efforts to get the league off the ground before their ideals of private companies hopping on board to sustain it.

“We don’t have enough funding for women’s sports in our country,” Alexander said. “We

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