North Wales rugby great Rachel Taylor has been appointed new women’s performance coach at Sale Sharks.
The former Wales international and National Skills Coach forms the latest in a long line of North Walian connections with the Greater Manchester club.
Rachel, who won 67 caps during an international career that began against Canada in 2007, joins the Sharks Women’s coaching team for the upcoming Allianz Premier15s season.
The back row forward, who hails from Penrhynside near Llandudno, became the first female coach of a national league Welsh rugby team when she took over at Division Two North side Colwyn Bay in 2018.
And the 38-year-old trailblazer broke more ground in November 2020 when she took on the role of National Skills Coach, becoming the WRU’s first professional national female coach in the process.
She stepped down from her WRU role in March and has now joined Women’s Performance Lead Katy Daley-McLean and Head of Operations Callum Yorke as they prepare the side for the start of the 2021/22 season.
Rachel said: “I’m so excited to be joining the Sharks family and to have the chance work alongside Katy, Callum and the team.
“It’s really clear to see how much investment and effort is going into creating and developing the women’s high-performance pathway at the club and I can’t wait to play my part.
“It’s a fantastic time to be joining a club that is only at the start of a really exciting, bright future.”
Women’s Performance Lead Katy Daley-McLean said: “Rachel is one of the most decorated and respected coaches in world rugby and we’re delighted to welcome her to Sale Sharks ahead of our second season in the Allianz Premier15s.
“She’s played at the very top level for many years and will bring so much experience and leadership to our team, both on and off the pitch.
“It’s a huge boost to our young team and I can’t wait to see the impact she’s going to make.”
Sale Sharks Women kick off their Allianz Premier15s campaign on Saturday with a home fixture at the Corpacq Stadium against Worcester Warriors Women.
RACHEL TAYLOR FACTFILE
Born: June 13, 1983, in Bangor
University: Cardiff Metropolitan
Occupation: Paraveterinary worker
Position: Back row
Capped 67 times for Wales Women’s rugby team
International debut against Canada in 2007.
First named Wales captain in 2012 for the Women’s Six Nations Championship.
Won 50th cap against Ireland in the 2015 Women’s Six Nations.
Club career: Bristol, Newport Gwent Dragons, Colwyn Bay, Widnes, Chester University, Waterloo, Cardiff Quins, Caernarfon
2018: Rachel appointed Colwyn Bay RFC’s first-ever female head coach.
2019: Became the first female Welsh Rugby Union regional academy skills coach, also taking on coaching roles with Crawshay’s and the Barbarians women’s sides.
2020: Rachel became Wales Women’s skills coach. First woman to be handed a professional coaching role within the set-up.
March 2021: Stepped down as skills coach for Wales Women squad.
August 2021: Appointed new women’s performance coach at Sale Sharks