The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) today outlined its strategic objectives for the next five years with the launch of its Strategic Plan 2018-2023 – Irish Rugby: ‘Building success together’.
Headline Performance Targets (Men)
Semi-finals or better at RWC19 / RWC23
2 or more Six Nations titles
2 or more European titles
2 or more Pro14 titles
7s qualification for 2020 Olympics
7s attain World Series status
Headline Performance Targets (Women)
WRWC21 qualification & Top 6 finish
One Six Nations title (top 3 otherwise)
Qualification for 2020 Olympics 7s
Qualification for 2022 7s World Cup
Consistent Top 6 finish 7s World Series
Consistent Top 2 finish U18 Europe 7s
Headline Growth Targets (Overall)
1,900 adult teams
90% of coaches accredited
95% of games officiated by branch referees
80% of clubs attaining ‘Green’ Health Check status
60% of clubs attaining ‘Green’ Spirit Programme status
Headline Growth Targets (Female)
5,000 adult players
300+ Women’s teams
150 Secondary Schools
6,500 youth players
1,000 3rd Level players
450 female coaches
80 female referees
Speaking about the plan, IRFU Chief Executive, Philip Browne said:
“The increased profile of rugby driven by on field success has resulted in an increase in participation, especially through Age Grade and the use of modified formats. But of course we recognise the many challenges the game faces and we have sought to address these in this Strategic Plan as part of our effort to ensure the game, over the next five years and beyond, will be put on an even stronger footing for the generations to come.
“The game continues to expand at every level and central to this expansion is funding. Currently, our professional teams, at National and Provincial level, account for 93% of the game’s revenues, of this some 80% is generated by the men’s international team.
“This stark statistic is reassuring and concerning in equal measure; the former as it recognises the phenomenal attraction of our senior international team to television rights holders, sponsors and supporters alike, while the latter highlights the extremely narrow base from which every other strand of the game must be funded.”
Commenting on the Performance goals outlined in the plan, David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director commented:
“The focus will be to drive alignment across the game and ensure the talent pathways feed the high performance side of the game with a particular emphasis on Sevens and the interface between Clubs and Schools and the professional game.
“Key areas of focus will be further advancement of player management programme, coach education, talent development, investment in research and data analytics and the recruitment and retention of world leading experts across the range of high performance disciplines. The delivery of a world class high performance centre will be a key element in driving the performance goals targeted over the next five years.”
Scott Walker, IRFU Rugby Development Director, spoke about the growth goals in the plan:
“We recognise that one of rugby’s principal challenges is to retain Age Grade players; and if such retention can be maximised, the game will grow. Players of all ages have a clear choice as to whether to participate in rugby or not.
“The strongest influence on the choice they make will be the quality of the experience which they have within the game during their formative years. If the experience is positive, then they are likely to remain within the game; if negative, they will be lost from it.
“Therefore, our priorities should be to build a system which provides the best sporting experience for young people in Ireland, and which gives them good reason to continue in rugby. In parallel the IRFU will work to establish competition formats across XVs and Sevens which allow more players to transition to adult rugby and beyond.
“At the same time the IRFU will embark on program of facilities modernisation and development of a network of artificial pitches.”