St Mary’s University and London Irish Rugby Football Club have today announced a new partnership for the development of Women’s Rugby at the club.
London Irish announced in today’s Daily Telegraph the formation of its new top-flight women's team, with plans to formally apply for a place in the Allianz Premier 15s for the 2023-24 season. The club’s amateur side, London Irish Ladies RFC (The Emeralds), have seen great success in recent years having been successfully promoted in the last three league seasons. The team are set to play in the Women's Championship South West 2 for the 2021-22 season.
As the club’s official educational partner, St Mary’s University will build on its existing partnership with London Irish to support the development of the Premier women’s team. The new partnership will see St Mary’s support the learning and development of London Irish coaches and work closely with the team to develop a flourishing player pathway for the women's game, which will benefit both the London Irish and University squads.
The partnership will also create opportunities for ambitious and talented female players to develop holistically as players whilst also gaining an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification, it will see the provision of high-quality placements for our students on a range of St Mary’s academic programmes and support the development of innovative collaborative research projects in areas such as coach development, performance analysis, sport science and sports medicine.
Speaking to The Telegraph, the London Irish Director of Women’s Rugby, Mary Fyfe said, “We are incredibly excited about what the future holds for women’s rugby at London Irish as we prepare to write a new chapter in our history. The desire and commitment to establish an elite women’s team at London Irish builds on the growth of the women’s set-up over recent years and is very much a natural progression for the club.”
Head of Department for Psychology and Pedagogic Science at St Mary’s Dr Abbe Brady added, "We at St Mary's are delighted at the launch of our new partnership with London Irish and looking forward to working closely with the club to support the development of players and staff in the launch of the professional women's squad.
“It's great to be partnering with an organisation who are committed to investing in the women's game and creating a sustainable development offer for players through dual career academic study and performance opportunities. The partnership will create many exciting hands-on development experiences for both our students and staff through placements, knowledge exchange and research opportunities as we look to support London Irish coaches and players via our specialisms in areas such as: coach development, performance analysis, performance lifestyle support, strength and conditioning, sport science, nutrition and sports medicine.”