Red Rose Sarah Bern is well aware that home Rugby World Cups do not come around often and hopes that the 2025 tournament can supercharge the growth of the game for women and girls.
The prop was just 13 years old the last time England hosted the competition in 2010 and she anticipates a highly encouraging grassroots picture by the time summer 2025 rolls around.
Transformational change within the game for women and girls is being coordinated thanks to the Rugby World Cup 2025 Impact Programme in partnership with HM Treasury, DCMS and Sport England.
The programme is investing in and driving growth in key areas including facilities, coaching and match officials, players and volunteers, and Bern believes this is just the start of unprecedented growth for the women’s game.
“The World Cup in 2025 will be massive,” Bern said, “It’s not very often you get to see a home World Cup in your career as an athlete.
“It’s going to be great to see everyone in the country get behind the girls, we can definitely get even more support generated behind us than from the World Cup in New Zealand.
“It’s going to be so accessible for families to come to and, most importantly, it’s going to be a great time to get people involved in rugby that maybe haven’t thought about it before.
“The more visibility rugby gets, the more young girls will look at it and think, ‘hey, I want to do that’.
“If you have someone who inspires young girls and boys to play, it will be great to show it doesn’t matter what your gender is, you can have just as much knowledge and enthusiasm and you’re caring to help someone be the best they can be.”
The Impact Programme is reaching thousands across the country, spurred by the RFU’s ambition to have 100,000 active female players within the sport by 2027.
Education and mentor programmes will aim to attract 1,000 new female coaches and 500 match officials as funding is being awarded over a four-year period to increase accessibility within all aspects of the women’s game.
“It’s just phenomenal to see because it used to not be the case,” Bern said. “As Red Roses, we fight for the female-specific tailoring to our programme every day so it’s brilliant to see that the RFU are behind it and supporting it at a community level.
“On the officiating side, it’s great that although refereeing can appear quite isolating, we’re showing that a lot of it is about being part of a team.
“I’ve been meeting women who have grown their women’s clubs over the years, learning about women’s health too and how important that is for people to know.
“It’s crucial to be able to speak about women’s health and all these topics to create a lasting legacy after 2025.”
The England vs. Wales game at Ashton Gate tickets are priced from £5 for Juniors and £15 for Adults, and the England vs. Ireland game at Twickenham are priced from £5 for Juniors and £20 for Adults