Blue Bulls Rugby Set the Pace with First Professional Women’s Team

The City of Tshwane, Loftus Versfeld to be exact, was abuzz with excitement, as the Blue Bulls Company launched the official women’s team from Pretoria, the Bulls Daisies.

In a first for South Africa, the Blue Bulls Company, earlier this year, awarded 35 women, with professional contracts. The contracted squad forms part of the Daisies. This means that these 35 women will be able to solely focus on Rugby as a full-time career. That was made official with a launch in the Capital City.

 

As we know quite a massive number of female athletes have to work a 9-5 job in order to make ends meet. Playing sport, from grassroots to the highest level, means putting your body on the line, but being professional means having medical aid gives the ladies one less problem to worry about.

No other franchise has done this in South Africa, therefore with this, Thando Manana, the Blue Bulls Company Special Projects Manager and High-Performance Women’s Rugby Manager, is leading the charge and setting the pace for the other SA franchises to learn and follow suit. This move by the Bulls co. will change women’s rugby as we know it, not just only in the country but in the continent.

Manana was inspired by a two-week visit to the United Kingdom where he saw how far other clubs have come in establishing women’s teams and he said this after his trip abroad: “I am grateful to Saracens, Harlequins and the Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club for opening their doors to me, allowing me to spend time in their high-performance environment, studying the DNA of their setup and learning from their experience in terms of what has worked and what has not, as well as what served the development of women’s rugby over there and how we can adapt those key ingredients into what we are trying to achieve as the Bulls Daisies.

“Our ambitions are not to merely partake in competition but to establish a solid foundation where South African rugby stars will be produced, and I believe the groundwork we have laid over the last few months is already a step in the right direction.

“This is indeed an exciting time, and I hope that our rugby community will get behind us as we elevate women’s rugby to the top,” he added.

BBCo. Chief Executive Officer, Edgar Rathbone echoed those sentiments adding that the move to professionalise women’s rugby was a landmark achievement whose success will have a ripple effect on the game from grassroots to national level.

“This has been a long time coming and almost feels surreal that we have finally summited this mountain top. As a family, we always say that all are welcome and that we have each other’s backs and finally, our women in rugby can get behind that message knowing that indeed, someone has their back.”

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