World Rugby hosts Women's High Performance Academy in San Diego

The Academy will bring together 18 delegates from 16 unions for a three-day workshop taking place alongside the 2019 Women’s Rugby Super Series in Southern California.

Following the ground-breaking launch of its high profile Women in Rugby brand campaign in May, World Rugby continues to make great strides in its commitment to the development of the women’s game by hosting the second Women’s High Performance Academy in San Diego, California on 29 June to 1 July, 2019.

Following the success of the inaugural Women’s High Performance Academy, which took place in Stellenbosch from 6-11 May, 2019, the three-day workshop will bring together 18 high performance managers, of which 11 are female, from 16 unions alongside a host of guest speakers.

The second instalment of this programme will run alongside the 2019 Women’s Rugby Super Series, hosted in partnership with World Rugby. The Super Series will see the top five women’s teams in the world – Canada, England, France, New Zealand and USA – participate in 10 highly competitive Test matches from 28 June to 14 July.



The purpose of the Academy is to build capacity within targeted unions by providing identified individuals with a bespoke learning opportunity in a high performance environment.

Led by World Rugby General Manager of High Performance Peter Horne, delegates will identify the key opportunities and challenges that present themselves in high performance sport, applying these to a series of workshops and case studies.

Guests will hear from a range of speakers who will share their experiences and knowledge of operating in a high performance sporting environment, including: Faye Downey, Managing Director and Performance Manager for Oracle Elite; Ross Tucker, Consultant Sport Scientist to World Rugby; Don Tricker, Director of Player Health and Performance at San Diego Padres and Kirsten Peterson, former Head of Performance Psychology at the Australian Institute of Sport.

The Academy forms an integral element of World Rugby’s Women in Rugby 2017-25 strategic plan which focuses on inspirational leadership on and off the field.

World Rugby is dedicated to growing the women’s game and recently launched a new ‘Women in Rugby’ brand identity and global campaign ‘Try and Stop Us’, aimed at driving increased participation and engagement among fans, audiences, players and investors in the women’s game.


Women’s rugby is one of sport’s great success stories, experiencing unprecedented growth around the world. Participation levels are at an all-time high with 2.7 million players globally – making up more than a quarter of the global playing population – and a 28 per cent increase in registered players since 2017.

Off the field of play, 2017 witnessed an historic and unprecedented decision as World Rugby increased the number of people who may sit on Council – its highest decision-making body – from 32 to 49, with the 17 newly-created positions to be held by women.

Horne commented: “The first instalment of this programme in May this year was a great success, so we are very much looking forward to building on that this week in San Diego. The main objective of the Academy is to provide an opportunity for influential, high performance individuals to interact and share best practice to help drive strategic change for women in rugby.

“This is a very exciting time for women’s rugby and the upcoming Women’s Rugby Super Series, which the Academy is taking place alongside, will be a brilliant demonstration of the way that the global development of the women’s game is progressing.”

Katie Sadleir, World Rugby General Manager for Women’s Rugby added: “This three-day Academy will challenge the leaders of these programmes and will cover topics such as building a performance culture and how to cope with performance under pressure.

“Our ambition is for the Academy to act as a catalyst for the long-term growth of the women’s game and we are fortunate to have such a strong list of delegates and speakers in San Diego to contribute towards this over the next three days.”

The unions represented in the World Rugby Women’s High Performance Academy in San Diego are:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • England
  • France
  • Hong Kong
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • New Zealand
  • Samoa
  • Scotland
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • USA
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