Ireland Women Grand Slam winner Lynne Cantwell has embarked on a new challenge after being named High Performance Manager for Women’s Rugby in South Africa.
Cantwell retired from international rugby as Ireland Women’s most capped player, and was part of the team that won the Grand Slam in 2013.
The following year she helped Ireland to a first win over the Black Ferns in the 2014 World Cup, calling time on her career after Ireland’s campaign which saw them reach the semi-finals.
She won 86 caps in all, holds a degree in Sports and Exercise Science as well as a Masters in Physiotherapy.
And Lynne Cantwell is thrilled at the opportunity to join the South African Rugby Union as they look to build women’s rugby within the organisation.
“I am excited and naturally a bit nervous about the big move over to South Africa for me and my family, but I feel incredibly comforted by the warm welcome I have been given internally at SA Rugby, by the players and management, and the provincial CEOs,” said Cantwell.
“I am intensely motivated to progress women’s rugby and women’s involvement in rugby, and the backing a leadership level from Jurie (Roux), Rassie (Erasmus) and Charles (Wessels) was central to my decision to join the team.”
South Africa have qualified for the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and have been drawn in a group alongside Women’s Six Nations pair England and France.
Rassie Erasmus, the coach of the South Africa men’s team that won the 2019 Rugby World Cup and now director of rugby at the SARU, felt that Cantwell could bring in a level of expertise that was previously missing.
“We have a rugby department and had a manager for women’s rugby, and we had done as much as we knew but we realised we lacked expertise and experience in the women’s high performance area,” said Erasmus.
“We re-focused our approach and we’re very glad and excited to be able to bring someone with Lynne’s experience and skills into the South African environment.
“We’re realistic about the fact that the short-term impact might not be all that obvious in results, but I have no doubt that the skills transfer and long-term impact will be a massive benefit to women’s rugby in South Africa.”