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RFL launch project to bolster young female participation as World Cup legacy lives on

The World Cup at the end of 2022 was a brilliant festival of rugby league celebrating the sport in three different formats.

For the first time ever the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments all ran concurrently and it provided an amazing spectacle for viewers and fans across the world.

England won the wheelchair title but fell short in the semi-final of both the men’s and women’s tournaments.

Regardless it was a huge boost for so much brilliant rugby to be broadcast on free-to-air television and the success of England women certainly inspired thousands of young girls.

Off the back of that we’ve already seen a second Women’s Super League side, York Valkyrie, pledge to start paying their players and now the RFL has launched an amazing new project.

RugBees is the governing body’s new scheme and it’s one that is open to girls aged 7-11 as the first ever rugby league programme specifically developed for primary school aged girls.

RugBee of course was the mascot for the World Cup and is therefore being utilised again to extend the legacy of the tournament and try engage a new generation of players.

Per the RFL website: “Each session will be an hour long, beginning with an introduction to the game’s technical skills and finishing with a non-contact form of the game such as Tag or Touch. Parents and guardians will be encouraged to cheer children on throughout.”

The scheme was launched today at Headingley and Jodie Cunningham, who is now the RFL’s National Women’s and Girl’s Development Manager made a statement.

Cunningham explained: ““I am so pleased that we were able to announce the launch of RugBees at the Women’s Super League season launch – it’s a full circle moment for the game.

“There is so much evidence to support that playing sport in a mixed gender setting isn’t right for all young girls and can be a barrier to participation which is why we are introducing RugBees to help tackle this.”

Referencing a report from ‘Women in Sport’ that girls often feel a lack of belonging in sport, and that sport “wasn’t for girls” Cunningham was defiant.

“When I read the report I was really saddened to find out how excluded young girls feel from physical activity – and it proves why RugBees is such an important project. The sessions will give girls a fun and enjoyable environment to play Rugby League and build their confidence up to a place where hopefully they will then want to join a team and play competitively.

“The Rugby League World Cup and the HeRLegacy series had a fantastic impact on the girl’s game, and we have to keep that momentum going.”

RugBees will kick off in April and a link to any information can be found here.

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