World Rugby Appoint Nicky Ponsford as Women’s High-Performance Manager
The professional women’s rugby game was given another boost this week as World Rugby confirmed the appointment of Nicky Ponsford as Women’s High-Performance Manager on a two-year contract starting in July 2021.
The announcement comes as part of the governing body’s commitment to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand which was delayed until 2022. World Rugby has already pledged an additional £600,000 to the initial £2 million Rugby World Cup High-Performance Preparation Fund.
Joe Schmidt, the former Ireland coach and current World Rugby Director of Rugby and High Performance, said: “We are delighted to welcome Nicky to the World Rugby High-Performance team….With RWC 2021, the new annual WXV competition starting in 2023, and a newly expanded RWC 2025, women’s international rugby is entering into an exciting new era.
We are committed to assisting unions who are implementing world-class HP programmes and supporting the development of player pathways and development structures.”
Who is Nicky Ponsford?
Nicky Ponsford is one “of the most successful and widely respected high-performance managers in the women’s game”, said World Rugby. She has been in the role of Head of Performance for Women at the RFU since 2002.
She said via World Rugby: “I’m really looking forward to starting this secondment with World Rugby.
To have the opportunity to work with World Rugby to help develop and grow the international women’s game is a really exciting prospect and I can’t wait to get started.
Having worked at the RFU for almost 20 years, I have developed strong relationships across the global game and am looking forward to strengthening those further.”
Ponsford’s role will see her work with 19 rugby unions that are set to benefit from the RWC 2021 support.
Women’s High-Performance Manager Role
Some of Ponsford’s key responsibilities as Women’s High-Performance Manager are:
- Support unions as they deliver their women’s high-performance programmes.
- Assist in the development of international standard training environments, structures and practices.
- Work with Rugby World Cup preparation camps, enabling teams to assemble in high-performance training environments with coaching and management teams.
- Facilitate an increased competition programme across 2021 and 2022.
- Provide enhanced performance support at the RWC 2021 tournament, with the establishment of a pool of locally-based (New Zealand) sports science and sport medicine practitioners.
Asia Rugby Increases female Committee representation to 30%
In June 2021, Asia Rugby announced it had increased its female committee representation to 30% as part of its objectives of having 40% representation by 2024.
The appointments will run from Jan 2021 – December 2024 and include:
- Ms Aigul Jartybayeva (President of Kazakhstan Rugby Federation) appointed as the 2nd Deputy Chair of the Development Committee.
- Mr Nazmus Shovon (CEO of Bangladesh Rugby Federation Union) appointed as a member of the Development Committee.
- Ms Jo Hull (Head of Women’s Rugby Performance at Hong Kong Rugby Union) appointed as a member of the Competitions Committee.
- Mr Jaesub Choi (Vice president South Korea Rugby Union) appointed Chair of the Referees Committee.
- Dr Lee Sang Hoon (South Korea Rugby Union) and Mr Shokhrukh Ruzmatov (Uzbekistan Rugby Federation) both join the Players Welfare and Medical Committee.
- Ms Zahara Ghorbbani (Iran Rugby Association) joins the Development Committee.
Rugby Development News
- World Rugby Launches Team Powered Women In Rugby Campaign.
- Asia Rugby Sub Regional Sevens Competitions 2021.
- HKRU name Simon Armor Interim Coach For 2021 Asia Rugby Championship.
- Rugby World Cup 2021 Appoints ChildFund as Principal Charity Partner.