1. ITV Report

Taylor 'first' woman to coach in WRU National League

Rachel Taylor in action for Wales Credit: PA

Former Wales rugby star Rachel Taylor has made history by becoming what - it's thought - is the first female head coach of a WRU National League side.

Taylor - who won 67 caps for her country and last autumn captained the Barbarians women's team - will coach Colwyn Bay RFC from next season.

As a woman, she'll be in the majority on the Division 2 North club committee: five other roles - team manager/ fixture secretary, membership secretary, secretary, treasurer and marketing - are also currently filled by females.

It's a homecoming for Rachel, as she returns to the club where she took up rugby as an eight-year-old. Recently she was awarded life membership in honour of her international achievements within the game.

I wanted to take my coaching up another level this season. I’m starting my Level 3 and the obvious choice would probably have been to simply coach RGC Women or a female side, but having spoken to male colleagues who said they’d learned a lot from coaching women, I’m hoping I’ll learn a lot from men’s rugby which is a completely different game and will give me a whole new perspective on many areas of my coaching and player management.

I’m also really looking forward to the challenge of having ownership of a team from start to finish, which is something I haven’t done before.

It’s good to know there are a lot of women involved in the club already – as in clubs around Wales. There are also a lot of quality female coaches coming through so I’d say why not coach men’s sides? I’ve seen the likes of my former teammates Catrina Nicholas and Jenny Davies move up the coaching ladder and that has given me confidence to give it a go.

With interest and participation in women and girls’ rugby in Wales on the rise through increased opportunities at girls’ clusters, school-club hub programmes and a new, more inclusive approach to the game throughout Wales, more women are getting involved in coaching, which is great to see.

– Rachel Taylor - Colwyn Bay Head Coach

Taylor, who's hung up her club and regional playing boots, will also coach RGC Women this season alongside her WRU North Wales regional colleagues Dave and Marc Roberts.

In addition, Rachel delivers coaching sessions to schools and clubs within her day job, having completed the WRU Level 2 coaching course. She's about to embark on Level 3.

She has previously coached North Wales regional age grade boys' teams and looked after the line-out for RGC women last season.

Congratulations to Rachel Taylor who has been a fabulous ambassador for Wales and women in rugby throughout her playing career and as a WRU employee. We wish her all the best in this new role. Also congratulations to Colwyn Bay RFC for promoting women throughout their committee on and off the field. Women have always carried out vital roles in Welsh rugby but it is encouraging to see more equality in some key positions at all levels of rugby administration going forward.

– Gareth Davies - WRU Chairman

We are working hard at all levels to redress the balance of volunteer opportunities within the rugby family to help us reflect society and reach new and diverse audiences. The cluster model has been developed with women and girls to respond to their specific needs and interests - not only in playing terms but in developing female role models, leaders and volunteers and we are working with partners such as Girlguiding to support this aim.

– Charlotte Wathan - National Women and Girls' Engagement Manager