WASPS Women’s Director of Rugby Giselle Mather believes Sunday’s double header at the Coventry Building Society Arena is “massive” for growing the sport.
The women’s side face Gloucester-Hartpury Women in the Allianz Premier 15s following the men’s clash with Northampton Saints this Sunday in the club’s first double header of the season.
Mather’s team are based in Acton, West London but will travel up to Coventry this weekend as they look to build some synergy with the men’s team.
And Mather insists Sunday’s double header is massive for growing women’s rugby as the sport attempts to become more professional.
Mather said: “It’s massive for growing the game – to have double header’s with the lads – it adds excitement value.
“I think the balance that we’ve got is really nice – to play two or three games a year in Coventry is fantastic and to bring the game to the Wasps supporters up here.
“We’re right in the middle of moving the sport from amateur from professioanl – you have to go through that journey.
“I’m the only full-time member of staff at Wasps at the moment, I have lots of fabulous staff but they’re not all full-time, the pressure that brings on the whole environment is huge.”
Her views were echoed by men’s head coach Lee Blackett who believes the club will only become stronger by bringing the two team’s closer together.
Blackett said: “It’s massive, it’s driven from the top of our club by Derek Richardson the owner.
“It’s the family feel that we want to the club – bringing the women’s side even closer to us.
“It’s great to see them training with us and to see the staff to meet up and talk about different ideas and how we see the game.
“That’s brilliant for developing the game – it brings almost an old school value of a real club feel to Wasps.
“It feels like the club are tightening and getting stronger as a whole.”
The women’s side train once a week at Wasps new state-of-the-art Elite Performance and Innovation Centre at Henley-in-Arden and Mather hopes to increase their time there in the future.
She said: “We’ve been coming to the training ground complex every Wednesday, we use all the facilities – the players are absolutely loving the gym and the recovery facilities – they’re really
“The vibe is awesome on a Wednesday.
“One of the unintended consequences is that the relationships between the team are deepening because we’re travelling up in the bus and back.
“My minibus driving skills are coming along nicely as well.
“As the game develops we hope to be there more – not all of our players are fully professional – we have three that are contracted to England.”
Mather also expressed her sympathy for the current generation of female players who she believes are not able to make a living from the sport given the demands of women’s rugby.
She added: “Every era of women’s player has had its thing, in mine we paid for our shirts, we paid for our travel – we paid for everything.
“Each generation has a different thing, in the current one, money is coming into the game but nowehere near enough to live off yet.
“What the game demands of the players isn’t yet matched by the salary – that’s what this generation of players are contending with.”
Wasps Women take on Gloucester-Hartpury Women at the CBS Arena on Sunday, October 10 with kick-off at 5:15pm.
That game is preceded by Wasps men’s clash against Northampton Saints in the Gallagher Premiership with kick-off at 3pm.