Former Bok Sevens Player Jackie Kriel Lauds Positive Impact of Gallagher High Performance Academy Workshops

Women’s rugby is getting a further boost as World Rugby latest workshops are looking to get the female game to new heights. Photo: SA Rugby

Women’s rugby is getting a further boost as World Rugby latest workshops are looking to get the female game to new heights. 

Leopards Women’s provincial coach and former Springbok Women’s Sevens player, Jackie Kriel recently attended the Gallagher High Performance Academy workshops and said the opportunity had a very positive impact on her coaching career and future coaching ambitions. The initiative was organised by World Rugby in Vancouver and Los Angeles recently. 

Kriel, is a former HSBC SVNS player having participated in 7 tournaments for the Springbok Women and was one of 10 coaches who completed the course and were inaugurated into the Academy in 2024.

The programme was introduced ahead of the inaugural WXV 15’s tournament in 2023, and forms part of World Rugby’s strategic plan to accelerate the development of women’s rugby, and increase the competitiveness of the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 in England.

With a focus on talent identification, professional support and championing the next generation of international coaches, the Gallagher High Performance Academy develops existing coaching talent and identifies opportunities for new coaches and other high performance roles.

All 10 participants are sevens coaches, fresh from completing their first in-person workshops and having been embedded with their respective nations for the HSBC SVNS season, and Kriel travelled with the South African squad to both the Canada and USA events.

Kriel is also a backs coach at Potchefstroom Dorp club and head coach of the South African Students and North-West University’s Women’s sevens teams. Trained as a physiotherapist, Kriel also works with the North-West Dragons provincial cricket team.

“The time management aspect of the course was very helpful,” Kriel said upon her return to South Africa.

“Working full-time as a physiotherapist and coaching after hours makes it difficult to reach my full potential as a coach. With coaching at the moment, I only get to the field session and gym training, and I am missing out on the planning, selection criteria, player development and meetings with the team and those were all addressed by the course.

“The time spent with our national side in both Vancouver and Los Angeles was great and I want to thank all involved for this opportunity.”

All 10 coaches took part in a rugby coaching masterclass at Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles. The inductees staged a series of live coaching sessions, putting into practice the skills that they have been learning through the Academy and the in-game live experience they have gained from being embedded in their respective HSBC SVNS teams.

They were joined by players and coaches from grassroots clubs within the local community, who benefitted from being coached by some of the most inspirational women in world rugby.

“That was great for me and certainly fuelled my passion for coaching rugby,” said Kriel.

Former Springbok Women flyhalf Zenay Jordaan completed the 15s version of the programme last year.

“As we celebrate the second year of the Gallagher High Performance Academy by extending the reach of programme to encompass all formats of the women’s game, we are not just shaping coaches, we are sculpting the future of women’s rugby.

“Together with Gallagher, we continue to champion diversity, excellence, and inclusivity on and off the field. The Academy enables a clear pathway for aspiring female coaches and provides vitally important coaching opportunities as we strive towards our ambitious target of 40 per cent female high performance coaching roles at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025. 

“We are already starting to see the fruits of our labour as coaches progress into full-time roles around the world,” said World Rugby Chief of Women’s Rugby, Sally Horrox. 

Photo Caption: Women’s rugby is getting a further boost as World Rugby latest workshops are looking to get the female game to new heights. Photo: SA Rugby 

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