Leeds Rhinos head coach Lois Forsell is poised for a landmark year for women’s rugby | News about rugby league

The best action of the Women's Super League Final between Leeds Rhinos and York City Knights.

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The best action of the Women’s Super League Final between Leeds Rhinos and York City Knights.

The best action of the Women’s Super League Final between Leeds Rhinos and York City Knights.

With excitement for the return of the Women’s Super League, Leeds head coach Rhinos Lois Forsell is ready to let her team make the mark once again.

Rhinos entered the competition as the defending champion, and after a remarkable winter for the Women’s Rugby League, Forsell is ready to let the game continue to evolve, and that starts with using the of the World Cup to their advantage.

Post-World Cup fever: Taking advantage of the tournament’s success

It is worth noting that the Rugby World Cup brought women’s sport to the forefront of international attention, with millions of views and record attendance, helping to position the tournament firmly on the map.

“I’m sure there were young girls in the crowd who were inspired to keep competing and beat the Australians and Kiwis.”

Jodie Cunningham

England stars Jodie Cunningham, Emily Rudge, Tara-Jane Stanley and Amy Hardcastle have inspired the next generation of players with their brilliant journey to the semi-finals and will now look to retain their fans. that grave while the 2023 season was underway.

“It’s just about getting more people to watch the game,” Forsell said.

“The viewing figures are absolutely unbelievable for the World Cup and it’s great to see people watching.

“I think the hope is that when we have those bigger games, we’ll see those viewership numbers improve again and then how the clubs are going to attract more people to come. their stands and how they can attract people to watch the game.

“Improving the sport’s commercial viability is key and the next step for the women’s game, so we just need to get as many viewers as possible.”

The road to professionalism | Paying players for ‘stepping in the right direction’

While the women who play in the Women’s Super League have trained at a ‘professional’ level, they have not yet been paid for their efforts, Leeds Rhinos and York Valkyrie became the first clubs to start pay the players in 2023.

After England’s heartbreaking World Cup match against New Zealand, emotional Cunningham went on to argue that women’s rugby professionalism was the answer.

Jodie Cunningham believes that the future of England Women's Rugby League lies on the road to becoming professional

Jodie Cunningham believes the future of England Women’s Rugby League lies on the road to becoming professional

“Obviously we’ve closed the gap and I really believe that another day we’ll beat New Zealand,” Cunningham said.

“We did a lot of hard work without being professional and I still think we’re capable of doing it without that.

“But you cannot avoid the difference if we are semi-pro or professional players, because we have the time, the resources and the ability to invest, and the appeal to young girls who are going to be young. debut.

“That has to be where the sport hits, and hopefully people will see the journey we’ve been through without being professional and can imagine how well we’ll play with it.”

For Forsell, her club’s decision to start paying players is a “step in the right direction” as the women’s rugby league continues to expand.

Forsell added: “They all play sports because they want to be part of the team, first and foremost, and because they enjoy it.

Watch Leeds Rhinos lift the Betfred Women's Super League trophy.

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Watch Leeds Rhinos lift the Betfred Women’s Super League trophy.

Watch Leeds Rhinos lift the Betfred Women’s Super League trophy.

“I think the most important theme is that girls play it because they love it and that shouldn’t change. Our first goal at Leeds is to keep costs down, so girls shouldn’t be playing. .

“Paying the players is a step in the right direction because ultimately we want to make it professional and we want to make it a fascinating sport and to do that you need to have Best performance on the field.

“To get that, on par with other sports like rugby and football, girls will have to move into a more full-time environment.

“This year, paying players isn’t going to change their lives but it’s a step in the right direction in terms of how we’re making the game more commercially viable and how we’re making a game more competitive.” Full-time school for girls into an option.

“Hopefully it’s a nice bonus and they can see that this step is a much bigger picture in terms of the framework and direction in which we as a club, and hopefully the whole game, want to aim for.”

What to expect in 2023 | Can Rhinos come back?

As the defending champions, Forsell’s Leeds side know they will have some expectations as they begin their campaign with a replay of the Final against York Valkyrie, teams like St Helens are also keen to claim. define your title.

That clash at Totally Evil Stadium saw Rhinos claim a second BWSL title with a 12-4 win over the newly renamed Valkyrie and it promises to be an orange clash. go another when the teams meet on Sunday, April 9.

While Forsell is excited about the game, she’s more focused on making sure her team plays with tenacity, determination and, above all, pride.

“We just wanted to keep building. We made it to the Finals and got there so we’ve got our eyes on the prizes at stake.

“I think you can’t look too far ahead because all the participants in this competition want to go and win.

“We will just try and be the best version of ourselves in every game.

“They’ll see an honest, gritty performance. They’ll see girls who aren’t afraid to show themselves and have some great skills.

“Hopefully they’ll just see a team that wants to play at every opportunity and will play with a bit of pride in who they’re playing against.”

Sky Sports is home to all three Super League Finals in 2023. Men’s Finals, Women’s Finals and Wheelchair Finals will all be broadcast live on Sky Sports next season. The new Super League season begins on April 9.


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