Following the announcement this morning that Warren Abrahams and Rachel Taylor would be the new coaching staff for the Welsh women, they spoke on their experiences and what their plan is ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup.
Robert Rees brings you the best bits from their interview.
Abrahams “excited” for new role
Becoming the first black coach of a Welsh team, Warren Abrahams is excited to get underway and see what he can deliver to the Welsh setup.
“I’m hugely excited. It’s been a challenging year and the girls feel the same. It’s a great platform to be part of such a special group,” he said.
“I reflected on it [being first black coach] this morning. It’s pretty special and now an opportunity for others to see it’s possible. I want to be a role model.”
Wales building for the future
“We’re building for the future,” said Abrahams, adding, “We want to grow participation and become competitive. I want to bring love and stability into the environment.”
England-based squad useful
With 90% of the squad based in England’s Premier 15s league, Abrahams explained at just how useful that is for them. “It’s a positive for us that our squad is playing in such a good league , competing consistently with top players. Just imagine if we can create our own competition [in Wales].”
“Rugby needs to open its eyes on how to spread its net in women’s rugby,” he added.
Full-time contracts preferred…
Wales currently sit as semi-professional and amateur, with no full-time contracts on the table, unlike in England and France.
Discussing the scenario Wales are in, Abrahams said, “you want full time athletes, but we’re not, so we have to do our upmost best to be competitive in the Rugby World Cup. We can take responsibility for ourselves.”
Looking ahead at the World Cup and beyond he explained, “the long term goal is to have a high performance setup. Results are important, we all want to win.
“We have 76 sessions before we get on the plane [for World Cup] and will be lucky to get 10 games, in an ideal world with the Six Nations going ahead. We’ve got to be smart in how we learn.”
Rachel Taylor ready for a fresh team selection
The old coaching setup had issues surrounding former Rowland Phillips and some players, who didn’t end up getting selected. Taylor strongly believes this is a fresh start for everyone and that she has immersed herself into as many opportunities as possible to prepare herself.
“We haven’t had the easiest of years gone by, but now there is a shift of momentum and we need to have direction and stability.
“We’ll see selection with fresh eyes, and with a look towards future competitions, beyond the Rugby World Cup. To have this full-time, professional contract is huge,” she added.
“Main photo credit”