Head coaches from 19 countries representing all six of World Rugby’s regional associations are set to benefit from the wisdom of some of the great and the good of international rugby coaching.
The coaches from the unions already qualified for Rugby World Cup 2021, playing in 2022, and those going through the qualification progress will come together for a seminar series that will provide learning opportunities to help them prepare teams for the tournament in New Zealand.
The first Zoom session on Thursday, 2 September will be co-presented by World Rugby’s Director of Rugby and High Performance, Joe Schmidt and Matt Johnston, World Rugby’s Game Analyst (Sevens).
Schmidt will share his thoughts on Coaching Philosophy and Development with head coaches from the leading women’s national teams around the world, before entering into a wider discussion on the subject with input from all parties encouraged.
The former Ireland Grand Slam-winning coach will then be joined by Johnston for the second half-hour session on Game Trends and Analysis.
Long-serving England head coaches, Eddie Jones and Simon Middleton, will lead the second seminar the following Tuesday.
Middleton, who has presided over three Women’s Six Nations Grand Slams in his time in charge of the Red Roses, has been asked to share his insight on Building a Game Plan.
Planning the Campaign is the subject matter of Jones’ session. Having taken both Australia and England to the final of a Rugby World Cup and been involved in South Africa’s success at RWC 2007, the Australian is well versed on what is takes to prepare a team to perform at their best in a tournament environment.
After a month-long break, the seminar series continues with two more dates in October.
On Thursday, 7 October, Ireland men’s head coach Andy Farrell is presenter for the session on Defence, while Scott Wisemantel will then lead a discussion on Unstructured Attack.
As Ireland’s defence coach under Schmidt, Farrell was the inspiration behind the defensive masterplan that shackled the previously free-scoring All Blacks – a task beyond most teams – in Dublin in 2018.
In losing 16-9 to Ireland, the All Blacks were kept try-less for only the second time in four years – with Farrell defence coach the other time they failed to cross the whitewash – in the British and Irish Lions series of 2017.
Wisemantel, meanwhile, has recent top-level experience in attack roles with England and currently in his native Australia with the Wallabies.
There is a trans-Tasman feel to the fourth and final seminar which takes place on Thursday, 12 October.
Breakdown Skills and Techniques is the domain of experienced Australian coach Laurie Fisher, while world renowned scrum guru, Mike Cron, takes the lead on Developing a Set-Piece – Scrum.
All of the sessions will be hosted by World Rugby Women’s High Performance Manager Nicky Ponsford and World Rugby High Performance Coordinator Agnes Congoste with plenty of time for discussion and questions.
Ponsford said: “The world-class calibre of coaches presenting will provide varied and insightful support for coaches preparing teams with the focus in this first series on coaching prowess and technical and tactical learning.
“This is the start of a support journey with these coaches and we want to develop a network of coaches who can learn from each other.
“We will follow this up with a second series in December focusing on understanding female players and delivering optimal environments and culture for these players, and mentoring will also be provided for the coaches who choose to take this up.”