(Reuters) – Alana Gattinger is set to become the first female team manager at a Rugby World Cup when she serves in the role with the Canadian squad in Japan, Rugby Canada said on Thursday.
The 30-year-old Gattinger served on Canada’s logistics team at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England and it was there that she set a goal to one day become team manager at the global event, which this year runs from Sept. 20-Nov.2.
“I’m lucky that I work in Canada and live in a country where opportunities like this exist for women in sport.” Gattinger said in a Rugby Canada news release.
“It’s a testament to our union and our country. I am not treated any differently, and that’s exactly what I want. I hope this serves as an inspiration to young girls that anything is possible.”
Gattinger began as an intern with Rugby Canada in 2012 and served in numerous roles before finally working her way up to manage the Canadian senior men’s team that will embark on their eighth Rugby World Cup.
Gattinger officially took on the role as team manager in 2017 when head coach Kingsley Jones was appointed, and all eyes turned towards qualifying for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
“My goal from the very beginning was to learn as much as possible about the game and the players so I could anticipate what was needed when they’re on the pitch training, or in a game,” said Gattinger.
“A managers’ job at the end of the day is to make sure that the players and coaches can focus on the task at hand.”
Off the field, Gattinger handles team and staff logistics, operating as the liaison between the team, tournament officials and World Rugby on top of being responsible for all aspects of team travel and accommodation.
Canada open their World Cup Pool B campaign against Italy in Fukuoka on Sept. 26 before meeting world champions New Zealand, South Africa and Namibia.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)