Harlequins is today delighted to announce a new relationship with Aylesford Bulls Ladies Rugby Team, which will see the London Club considerably grow its involvement in the women’s game.
Developing women’s rugby is a key element of Harlequins’ five year strategy as the Club looks to support the expansion of the game into new markets.
The relationship will see Harlequins working with Aylesford’s Women’s Premiership team from the 16/17 season and will form a key element of Harlequins’ Women and Girls strategy developed with the Harlequins Amateurs, which will also focus on growing the number of participants in the women’s game at every level and establishing player pathways from grassroots through to the Premiership.
Also included will be talent identification and the support to develop new clubs and teams to ensure every player has the opportunity to achieve their potential in the game.
In order to deliver the programmes, Harlequins will work with Gary Street and Karen Findlay who will support the overall delivery of the women and girls strategy at the Club.
Harlequins Academy and Global Development Director Tony Diprose commented: "Growing women and girls rugby is integral to our strategy as we move forward and is a key element in ensuring we maintain focus on our ambition to be the best rugby club in Europe.
"Both Gary and Karen have excellent track records in developing players and their extensive knowledge of the women’s game at both domestic and international level means we have the best people overseeing this area for us. We are very much looking forward to welcoming them on board."
Gary Street is a highly regarded and experienced coach who led England to Women’s Rugby World Cup Glory in 2014. He was also named Coach of the Year at the UK Coaching Awards in Glasgow in the same year. He added: "I am extremely excited to be part of this fantastic new venture and to be part of Harlequins, a strong rugby brand. I have been really impressed with the support from the Club and I am sure their professionalism and input will continue to enhance and improve women's rugby in England. It is a fresh new challenge for me and I am looking forward to it immensely."
Karen Findlay, the former Scotland and Richmond Head Coach who recently led her side to a record fifth Premiership title in a period of unprecedented success at the Club said: "I am wholly committed to and passionate about continuing to do all I can to contribute to the growth of the women’s game. Together we will ensure the delivery of an environment which will enable women’s rugby players to be the best they can be.
"Harlequins’ commitment to this fantastic new opportunity as part of the Club’s five year plan to support increasing growth and development in girls and senior women’s rugby is something that, as a female coach within the game, I am extremely excited about. To be able to contribute to that, as well as having the opportunity to learn from fellow professionals and work with new coaches and players to shape the future is fantastic."
To start the build up to the new Women’s Premiership season, Harlequins will host an Open Day at their Training Centre at Surrey Sports Park between 13:00-16:30 on Sunday 12th June. The day will include the opportunity to meet the new coaching team, learn more about the vision and programme from a coaching and strength and conditioning perspective as well as view the excellent facilities. The day will also include some conditioning games focusing on core skills with an element of enjoyment.
Any female players interested in attending and joining the sessions should contact both Gareth Algar Gareth.Algar@quins.co.uk and Michele Mayhew (Head of Female Rugby Operations) firstname.lastname@example.org.