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Women in High Performance Coaching: Coach Internship Programme (CIP21)

High Performance
Women in High Performance Coaching: Coach Internship Programme (CIP21)
Rugby World Cup: Women in High Performance Coaching - Coach Internship Programme (CIP21) Review

To address lower numbers of women in high performance coaching in rugby, World Rugby established Coach Internship Programme, a two-year programme of professional development and training, and high performance experience, with the national squad for 12 interns, ending 2021. Outlined below are the key elements and outcomes of the programme, plus recommendations for future CIP programmes.

Target audience:

Sports Governance, International Federations, National Sporting Organisations


World Rugby undertook a review of the status of women in high performance coaching in 2018 due to the lack of women coaching at an elite level. An audit of the 2016 Olympics and the 2017 RWC revealed that only four female coaches had been involved and only one as a head coach.​

A number of barriers (see next slide) were identified and a range of interventions were put in place to try to address these issues. A key issue has been the inability for female coaches to gain the crucial experience at a high performance level to be appointed to elite coaching roles. ​

Therefore, World Rugby established a Coach Internship Programme ​for participating Unions at Rugby World Cup 2021. The internship programme was officially launched in September 2020 and sought ​to provide a year of professional development and HP experience with their national ​squad for the 12 coach interns, culminating at Rugby World Cup 2021. As there ​was a delay to the RWC2021 due to covid – this ended up being a 2 year ​programme and as a result of this there were some changes to the ​coaches over the period of the programme.

Summary of content:

The Women in High Performance Coaching: Coach Internship Programme (CIP21) Review shares information on the following:

  • Key issues identified for women in gaining high performance roles
  • Key components in addressing the barriers to women in high performance coaching
  • Outline of the CIP21 programme
  • CIP21 programme timeline
  • Summary of recommendations for future CIP programmes
  • Feedback from coaches
  • Key outcomes from CIP21
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