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EXCLUSIVE: Benefactor set to offer Red Roses contracts

Investor Simon Pennock flew to Belfast yesterday to present the England Women squad with an ambitious new venture to give them financial stability after the World Cup.

With the RFU deciding to concentrate on Sevens next season, a third of the 15s squad currently playing at the World Cup in Ireland will not have their contracts renewed leaving them in a difficult financial situation.

Pennock, an IT entrepreneur, is now the investor behind SNAP sponsorship and the Lions Sports Academy, and will offer the women a three-month contract on the same financial terms as the one they have with the RFU – in exchange for work in either companies.

SNAP is an internet-based platform where grassroots clubs can advertise their assets in order to gain sponsorship while the Lions Academy introduces young players to a more professional approach to strength and conditioning and nutrition.

“My proposition is not aimed at undermining the RFU,” Pennock told The Rugby Paper. “I’m just a huge rugby fan and this is a genuine attempt to help out these girls.

“A lot of them have had to make financial sacrifices, leaving their jobs in order to follow their dream of playing professional rugby.

“But some of them who don’t play Sevens have nothing tied up for after the World Cup and that’s why I think it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

“We’ve got role models coming out of the World Cup on one side and on the other we have SNAP and the Lions academy who could do with more staff.

“I’m confident they’ll be quite responsive to our offer. It’s a great opportunity to offer them financial stability for a while and give them time to plan their next career move.

“Some girls might enjoy their new job and it’s likely we’ll be able to offer them a permanent contract at the end of the three months.”

NICK VERDIER

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