World Rugby will host a leadership forum to aid the development of women in rugby ©Getty Images

World Rugby has announced details of a leadership forum to identify ways to aid the development of women in rugby on and off the field of play.

The two-day event, due to take place in Belfast on August 24 and 25 before the final of the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup, will bring together senior members of the rugby community and leading figures in women’s sport.

The aim is to share best practice for the development of the women’s game.

It will also offer unions and regional associations a further opportunity to discuss World Rugby's "Women’s Rugby Plan 2017-2025", which began in March this year.

With more than 2.2 million women and girls playing the game worldwide, women’s rugby is currently experiencing a period of growth.

It is hoped this summer’s Women's Rugby World Cup 2017 in Ireland will further boost the profile of the sport.

The forum aims to create a "strong network of engaged leaders", who will work together to address opportunities for the future growth and leadership of the sport.

The 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup is currently taking place in Ireland ©Getty Images
The 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup is currently taking place in Ireland ©Getty Images

Notable speakers include Brett Gosper, chief executive of World Rugby, Bill Pulver, chair of World Rugby’s Women’s Advisory Committee and the chief executive of Australian Rugby Union, and Emily Shaw, head of women's football development for FIFA.

"It is exciting to be able to host this important forum for the first time during Women’s Rugby World Cup, a tournament that will certainly take the game to the next level, showcasing our thriving sport to an even bigger audience and engaging and inspiring new players and fans around the world," said World Rugby's general manager of women's rugby, Katie Sadleir.

"The Leadership Forum will provide the perfect platform to examine the future of the women's game.

"We are delighted with the excellent support the global rugby family has shown for this initiative and the overwhelmingly positive response we have received from unions, regional associations, players and officials to our proposed Women's Rugby Plan, as our comprehensive consultation phase continues."