The RFU and RPA are pleased to announce landmark new contracts for its women's senior playres, the Red Roses.
The three-season agreement, up to 2026, will see 32 contracts awarded, up from 30 last season, as well as six transition contracts which will support aspiring Red Roses in their early professional journey and safeguard some of their week for dedicated rugby development.
In addition to the 32 contracts awarded, two players currently on maternity leave, remain contracted.
Contracted players have been selected by incoming Red Roses Head Coach, John Mitchell, with his coaching team of Louis Deacon, Lou Meadows and Sarah Hunter as well as Executive Director of Performance, Conor O’Shea, and Head of Women’s Performance, Charlie Hayter. The names of contracted players will be confirmed in July.
In addition to an increased number and length of contracts, there are also significant enhancements to the agreements which as well as salary, cover match fees, Rugby World Cup 2025 arrangements, commercial and community engagement initiatives as well as an agreement around revenue sharing if business targets are exceeded. In addition, the Red Roses and RPA will work closely to further support the players’ off field aspirations and aid greater development opportunities.
Executive Director of Performance, Conor O’Shea said: “The new contracts are a significant development and a mark of the advancement in the women’s game since they were first awarded.
"We have led the way with the introduction of contracts as well as provision such as the ground-breaking maternity policy introduced earlier this year for our female athletes.”
Charlie Hayter, RFU Head of Women’s Performance said: “I’d like to thank the player representatives and the RPA for their collaboration in developing the contracts which will provide the players with certainty over the next three years as we build up to our home World Cup in 2025.”
Christian Day, RPA General Secretary said: “As the world’s number one ranked women’s team, the Red Roses have long been trendsetters in terms of both on-field performance and the off-field support made available to players. To maintain this position, and indeed to continue to grow the gap as other nations seek to level up, it was vital that the players contracts would be advanced at a time of unprecedented growth and opportunity for women’s rugby. These ground-breaking new contracts will enable the players to continue to push forwards as both professionals and as people as a home World Cup appears on the horizon for 2025.
“The RPA are extremely proud to represent the Red Roses playing squad with the women’s game a key priority of the association. We will continue to innovate and expand our provision to match the needs of our Red Roses members. We would like to thank the RFU for their engagement as valued partners throughout this process.”
Red Rose, Sarah Bern, said: “The new contracts are a really great development for us as a playing group and I was pleased to be able to represent the Red Roses in the discussions for these new arrangements.
"It’s a reflection of how far things have moved on in the women’s game and will support us as professional athletes as we work towards the World Cup.”