(Words and Image from WRU)
Rachel Taylor has been appointed as the first female WRU Regional Academy skills coach (North Wales – RGC). As part of a package which will see an increased level of support for North Wales Academy players, former Wales Women captain Rachel Taylor will deliver the national skills curriculum to North Wales academy players alongside new RGC head coach Matt Silva and under the leadership of academy manager Josh Leach. In the first integrated academy skills role for both male and female players, she will also develop female players in the North Wales performance pathway, underneath regional manager Marc Roberts, ensuring both male and female players reach their full potential regionally and internationally.
North Wales Women and Girls’ Game Changer Dave Roberts has replaced Taylor as WRU Rugby Coordinator for North West Wales and in a further boost for women and girls in North Wales rugby, international wing Jessica Kavanagh replaces Roberts as Women and Girls’ Game Changer for the North Wales region.
WRU Community Director Geraint John said, “We are thrilled to appoint Rachel Taylor as North Wales Academy skills coach. She is hugely experienced as an international player and rugby development professional and it’s exciting to see her use that expertise to develop both male and female players in North Wales while also developing further as a coach after taking on roles as coach of RGC Women and Colwyn Bay 1st XV (men) and in addition to taking on coaching roles with the Crawshay’s and the Barbarians’ women’s sides this autumn.
“She will bring a new dimension to the North Wales player pathway while also gaining from the experience and expertise of Matt Silva and Josh Leach along with WRU performance coach manager Dan Clements. It’s important we support Rachel in her development as a high performance coach.”
Taylor added, “It’s nice to have a fresh challenge and I’ve got great support around me to learn as much as I can in a range of areas such as age grade rugby, junior academies and the women and girls’ performance pathway.
“I’m really lucky being where I am in North Wales – RGC have created something from blank sheet themselves and that’s the position I’m in now with this brand new skills role putting the male and female players in the best position for Welsh selection.
The North Wales community team will also benefit from new roles for both Dave Roberts and Jessica Kavanagh.
WRU Women and Girls’ General Manager Charlotte Wathan said, “These are fantastic appointments for the profile of women’s rugby and women in rugby. Rachel is an outstanding ambassador for the game and the integrated role within the performance pathway will benefit all involved. Dave has made a huge impact as North Wales Women and Girls’ Game Changer over the past three years, dramatically improving the opportunities across the region on and off the field and will take that experience into the Rugby Coordinator role seamlessly, while Jess Kavanagh has shown her dedication to increasing female participation in sport through her work with ‘Byw’n Iach Gwynedd’ and will no doubt inspire the next generation of women and girls in North Wales.”
The increased level of support for the North Wales Academy brings its structure into line with the other regional academy set-ups and will ensure North Wales players with the potential of playing professional rugby are given the appropriate support for the benefit of the whole of Welsh rugby.
John added, “The North Wales Development Region remains a priority for us as a Union. It is vital that wherever you live in Wales, that there’s a pathway to fulfil your rugby potential, be it as a male or female player, coach, referee or volunteer. We will continue to help and support RGC as they prepare for the next stage in their journey.”