RA eyes payment plan Wallaroos, Super W

Murray Wenzel and Darren Walton |

A three-year goal to professionalise the Wallaroos has been flagged as Australia firms to host the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2029.

Australia on Monday was named World Rugby’s preferred host for the event, two years after the men’s edition is set to be contested in the country.

World Rugby will now meet with Rugby Australia (RA) and government representatives this week to progress a hosting model for both events, before a final vote in May in Dublin.

RA boss Andy Marinos said the women’s showpiece event, which will be contested in New Zealand later this year, would be an aspirational one for the country’s would-be rugby talents.

And he said the heightened interest in women’s rugby and women’s sport since the failed bid to host the 2022 Women’s World Cup would allow RA to build a commercial case for enhanced funding of the 15-a-side program.

Currently only two of the five Australian Super W sides receive match payments, while the Wallaroos national side are paid for time in camp and the women’s Australian sevens players are on full-time contracts.

Marinos said better pay conditions for Super W players and the Wallaroos, standardised nationally, were essential and an easy sell given the exploits of Australia’s women’s cricket and rugby sevens teams.

“Their (cricket World Cup) win was just wonderful and you can see that the investment that’s gone into that sport is paying dividends,” he said.

“Much like what we saw with sevens (gold medal at the Rio 2016 Games); we invested and continue to make sure those girls continue to perform.

“These opportunities will allow us to build a more comprehensive commercial following; there’s a purpose and destination ahead of us around the game.

“It’s not like there isn’t an investment (in women’s rugby already), it’s just how we broaden that.”

When pressed on a deadline, Marinos said “we’ve got to work hard towards the 2025 World Cup in England”.

“We won’t be held to a timeline, but it’s a priority,” he said.

“(Paying players) has to be followed by investment in the game.”