Leicester Tigers will launch a women’s team in the new season as part of a new women’s and girls’ rugby programme.
The programme is being introduced to develop and support women’s rugby, and to provide opportunities for women and girls to get involved in the sport, on or off the field.
Vicky Macqueen, who earned 34 caps for England in Tests and Sevens rugby during a five-year international career, will become Head of Women’s Rugby and the club is also looking to recruit a women’s and girls’ rugby development officer and team manager among other key roles.
From Hinckley in Leicestershire, Macqueen is an RFU Level 4 coach, the founder of didi rugby UK and recipient of the British Empire Medal for her work in women’s rugby.
The club is currently working on the governance and logistics of running the women’s team while investigating playing opportunities in 2021/22 which will include seeing a Leicester Tigers women’s team run out at Mattioli Woods Welford Road for the first time.
Tigers are also calling on supporters to get involved however they can to help make this initiative a great success.
Leicester Tigers chief executive Andrea Pinchen said: “One of the driving forces at the Tigers is to promote the game of rugby at all levels within our community and we are delighted to be able to announce the formation of a women’s team and a major programme to develop the women’s game in our region.
“Rugby is an inclusive sport with a wide appeal and we want Tigers to inspire women and girls of all abilities to get involved in the game, and to provide an opportunity for them to wear the Leicester Tigers shirt and run out to play at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.
“Everyone in rugby is rightly proud of the success of the England women’s team and many of the squad in recent years have had links with our region, including Vicky Macqueen, Vicky Fleetwood and Emily Scarratt, the 2019 World Player of the Year.
“They are the role models who can inspire others to play, but only if they are given exciting opportunities to do so, and that is what we aim to provide with a Tigers women’s rugby programme.
“Vicky Macqueen has great experience of the game at the elite level but also in the grassroots, and she will now focus on recruiting a squad and establishing a team for its inaugural season while the club provides the facilities and the opportunities to grow the game, including the appointment of a women’s and girls’ rugby development officer who will deliver coaching sessions to support our clubs and schools.
“This is a big project to get off the ground, especially in the circumstances of the last 18 months, but it is one we are committed to and we know it is one that will be warmly welcomed by the Tigers Family.
“We’re looking for anyone that wants to get involved to get in touch with the club. Whether they are prospective players, coaches or businesses who can provide support to make this a great programme.”
Macqueen said: “I’m really excited about the whole prospect being realised for Leicester Tigers and Leicestershire women’s rugby. Developing the game in this area has always been so close to my heart.
“This starting point is really exciting because it is such a great opportunity. It is a huge challenge but an exciting challenge.
“We want to put the foundations in and create a culture in line with the Leicester Tigers culture.
“Seeing the women’s game grow in recent years has been phenomenal and now we have an opportunity to create a pathway in our region from the grassroots to the elite game. Key to a good pathway is the right coaching, the right recruitment and to give talent opportunities.
“This is a very strong sporting county and the aim is to grow that talent here, develop it and let players see a pathway here.”
If you would like to contribute to the Tigers Women’s Rugby Programme, on or off the field, contact [email protected].