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IRFU's five-year plan targets World Cup semis and two Six Nations crowns

The Rugby World Cup prize - the Webb Ellis Cup.
The Rugby World Cup prize - the Webb Ellis Cup.

The IRFU have targeted semi-final places at the next two World Cups as part of their new five-year strategic plan.

The men's team has also been tasked with landing two of the next five Six Nations titles and holding a spot in the top three of the world rankings.

At provincial level, the IRFU want to see Irish teams land two more European titles by 2023 and at least two PRO14 crowns.

In the women's game, qualification for the Women's Rugby World Cup in 2021 is a must, along with a top six finish. The women are also aiming to land a Six Nations title and hold a consistent top three place in the tournament.

In Sevens rugby, both teams are angling for a place at the 2020 Olympic Games. The women also want to win two World Series tournaments, while the men look to gain WS status.

In terms of growing the game, the IRFU want to hit 210,000 players across 1,900 adult teams on the island. That would be an increase of 8% in players and 11% in teams.

As part of the Women in Rugby Action Plan, 5,000 (currently 2,125) of those players should be adult women and 6,500 (currently 2,500) female youth players in over 300 (currently 190) women's or girls' teams.

As many as 90% of coaches should be accredited by 2023, with 95% of match officiated by branch referees.

You can get a full look at the IRFU's new strategic plan here. The Women in Rugby Action Plan is available in full here.

 "The increased profile of rugby driven by on field success has resulted in an increase in participation, especially through Age Grade and the use of modified formats," said Philip Browne, IRFU Chief Executive.

"But of course we recognise the many challenges the game faces and we have sought to address these in this Strategic Plan as part of our effort to ensure the game, over the next four years and beyond, will be put on an even stronger footing for the generations to come.

"The game continues to expand at every level and central to this expansion is funding. Currently, our professional teams, at National and Provincial level, account for 93% of the game’s revenues, of this some 80% is generated by the men’s international team.

"This stark statistic is reassuring and concerning in equal measure; the former as it recognises the phenomenal attraction of our senior international team to television rights holders, sponsors and supporters alike, while the latter highlights the extremely narrow base from which every other strand of the game must be funded."

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