KATY Mclean sees her new professional status as a major step forward for the women’s game.
She said: “This is fantastic news for the sport and exactly what we need as an England squad to continue to be at the top of our sport on a global scale.
“I am extremely excited about this new challenge and where this full-time programme can take us as an England team.”
The RFU will award one-year contracts, with the Sevens stars expected to play international XVs and Premiership club rugby.
The RFU’s head of women’s performance Nicola Ponsford and England Women’s Sevens head coach Simon Middleton will lead the new programme.
She said: “We are delighted to be able to offer a full-time Sevens programme for next season.
“We are really excited by the opportunity and feel that this will enable us to compete on a global level.
“The inclusion of Sevens in the Olympics has meant that a significant number of sides we are competing against have been full-time for a year or more.
“We have been planning to do this for some time but we needed to make sure that we could focus on the Rugby World Cup whilst also ensuring we had the building blocks in place to guarantee that a full-time programme is effective.
“With two years to go until the 2016 Olympics Games, we felt this was the right time to move forward.”
The move is another change for Katy, who last week said her life has been a “whirlwind” since she lifted the trophy in Paris.
She said: “It has been a whirlwind since the final. There has been a lot of media work, and it has been amazing to have so many people stop us to say ‘Congratulations’.
“People have been so, so happy for us and have shared that with us.
“These moments are so special that you don’t want to lose them and you don’t want them to stop.”