FORMER Worcester Warriors Women director of rugby Jo Yapp has been appointed as the new coach of the Australia Women's rugby team.

Yapp, who spent four years as DoR at Warriors, becomes the only female head coach of an Australian senior national team in a major football code and is contracted until the end of 2025.

"It is a great honour to be appointed head coach of a proud rugby nation such as Australia," said Yapp. "I have fond recollections of battling Australia as a player, and you cannot help but be impressed by the strides the Wallaroos have made in the past couple of years.

"For a semi-professional team to reach the knockout stages of the World Cup last year, and to then finish third in the WXV tournament this year is a huge testament to the talent in the country. I have seen some of that up close in recent years too, with some of the Australian players having stints in the English Premiership.

"I am looking forward to getting started, getting to know the players, and building further towards the 2025 Rugby World Cup."

Yapp played a pivotal role in keeping Warriors Women afloat during the financial troubles at Sixways but when new owners Cube International pulled their funding in October due to their own money problems, the Warriors Women team collapsed.

Yapp spent many years playing for Worcester and she earned 70 England caps during that time before making the move into coaching and now she takes her first head coach role of a national side, with sights set on the 2025 Rugby World Cup in England.

"This appointment is a crucial one as we work towards our goal of continuing to grow Women’s Rugby in Australia," said CEO Paul Waugh. “It is a huge opportunity for our game as we continue to grow sustainably as investment increases in the coming years.

"We now have our first ever full-time coach of the Wallaroos, we have hired our first Women’s High-Performance Manager, and we are seeing continual year-on-year growth in participation of women and girls in the community.

"England is obviously at the top of the heap in the world of Women’s Rugby at the moment, with a fully professional women’s system that is the envy of most other Rugby-playing nations. Jo has been heavily involved in this system – in the early days as a player, and then as a coach and Director of Rugby as the English system developed into that powerhouse.

"We have been impressed by Jo’s thinking on the game, her attention to detail, and her plans to build a strong high-performance culture – which she has experience doing; many of the players she coached in the England U20s are now the players that are so influential in the senior team.

"Jo is a highly sought-after coach, and I am confident that she is the right person to lead the development of the Wallaroos program as we look towards the next World Cup in England in 2025."