Claire Cruikshank to join Scotland Women as Rugby World Cup 2021 coaching intern

Claire Cruikshank to join Scotland Women as Rugby World Cup 2021 coaching intern

World Rugby have today announced that Claire Cruikshank will join the Scotland Women coaching set-up as part of the Rugby World Cup 2021 Coaching Internship Programme ahead of the showcase women’s 15s event in New Zealand from 8 October to 12 November, 2022. 

Cruikshank is currently the Head of Women’s Performance Rugby at The University of Edinburgh, having coached a number of current Scotland internationalists including Shona Campbell, Meryl Smith, Anne Young and Eva Donaldson.

A knee injury sustained at Rugby World Cup 2006 restricted Cruikshank’s international career to five Scotland caps. During rehab, Cruikshank tried her hand at coaching for the first time, helping the junior teams at her club, Murrayfield Wanderers, and hasn’t looked back since, gaining international experience with the Sweden women’s national team.

Cruikshank said: “I’m thrilled to have been appointed as the Rugby World Cup coaching intern for Scotland Women.

“This opportunity will allow me to learn from the current coaching and management group and continue my development as a coach, while contributing to the squad’s preparation from the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.”

In line with the ‘developing inspirational leadership’ strand of the 2017-25 Women in Rugby strategic plan, World Rugby is committed to supporting the development of female coaches in the sport and has set an ambitious target of a minimum of 40 per cent of all coaches at Rugby World Cup 2025 to be women.

Now that the final qualified teams have been confirmed, Cruikshank will join Lailanie Burnes (Fiji), Michela Tondinelli (Italy), Aya Nakajima (Japan) in the programme which was launched by World Rugby in September 2020.

To date, Whitney Hansen (New Zealand), Inge Visser (Australia), Maria Gallo (Canada), Amy Turner (England), Laurian Johannes-Haupt (South Africa), Kate Daley (USA), Sophie Spence (Wales) and Celine Allaimat and Gaelle Mignot (both France) have developed their leadership skills through the programme.

World Rugby Director of Women’s Rugby, Sally Horrox said: “I’d like to congratulate all the coaches selected to participate in the Rugby World Cup 2021 Coaching Internship Programme.

“One of World Rugby’s strategic priorities for the women’s game is to increase the number of women in leadership positions across the sport through meaningful opportunities, so it has been extremely encouraging to see such a strong uptake of this programme across all participating unions.

“We’ve already seen some brilliant results since the programme launched in 2020, including Whitney Hansen’s recent promotion to assistant coach of the Black Ferns, which we hope sends out a hugely positive message to the latest group of coaching interns and the wider rugby community.”

The Rugby World Cup 2021 Coaching Internship Programme is funded as part of the International Olympic Committee’s international development grant awarded to World Rugby.

The programme is an outcome from the comprehensive Women’s High-Performance Coaching review, with the report’s findings highlighting a significant lack of female representation at high-performance coaching level.

Rugby World Cup 2021 will take place in New Zealand from 8 October to 12 November, 2022 and will see 12 of the world’s top women’s 15s teams come together for a global celebration of women’s rugby.

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