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Women’s rugby in the South African context: challenges and opportunities
  1. Lara Paul1,
  2. Natheema Isaacs2,
  3. Dhavina Naidoo3,
  4. Naasier Parker3,
  5. Lynne Cantwell3,
  6. Sharief Hendricks1,4
  1. 1 Division of Physiological Sciences and Health through Physical Activity, Lifetsyle and Sport Research Centre, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
  2. 2 Stormers and Western Province Rugby Union, Cape Town, South Africa
  3. 3 South African Rugby Union, Cape Town, South Africa
  4. 4 Carnegie Applied Rugby Research (CARR) Centre, Carnegie School of Sport, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sharief Hendricks, Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape 7725, South Africa; sharief.hendricks01{at}

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World Rugby’s strategic plan

Recent reviews and editorials have highlighted the paucity of research within women’s rugby and the challenges with conducting research in women’s sport.1–3 In November 2017, World Rugby (WR) launched a strategic plan that included growing participation in women’s Rugby Union (‘rugby’) across the globe. The broader strategy was initially based on five pillars.4 The updated plan now includes a pillar dedicated to women’s player welfare to support research on women’s rugby in areas of concussion, women’s health, mental well-being and the use of wearable technology.5 Furthermore, WR sought to improve injury surveillance in the women’s game and provide bespoke video analyses.5 The player welfare pillar also ensures the women’s game is represented during the law review process and examines whether gender-specific laws are required to improve safety in the women’s game.5 Lastly, this pillar prioritises medical and technical interventions specific to women.5 The six pillars are highly reliant on each other (figure 1). For example, player injury risk may relate to the player’s progression through the development pathway and the extent of …

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  • Contributors LP and SH drafted the manuscript. NI, DN, NP and LC provided input. All authors edited and reviewed the final version.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests NI is employed by the Stormers and Western Province Rugby Union. DN, NP and LC are employed by the South African Rugby Union. SH is a member of the BJSM Editorial Board.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.