By Thomas Branston
England RFU have today announced that the current Women’s Premiership will be replaced by a Women’s Super Rugby league for the 2017-18 season.
This major development will expand the women’s game in England and aims to raise the standards of rugby domestically and help support the Red Roses’ ambition to be the best team in the world.
It is also expected to help increase participation and create new commercial partnerships to help underpin the competition.
The ten sides that will feature in the new era of Women’s Rugby;
- Bristol Ladies Rugby Ltd
- Darlington Mowden Park Sharks
- Firwood Waterloo Ladies
- Harlequin FC
- Gloucester-Hartpury Women’s RFC
- Loughborough Students (Lightning)
- Richmond FC
- Saracens Women
- Wasps FC Ladies
- Worcester Valkyries
However in the current Women’s Premiership competition two sides that will not feature in the new Women’s Super Rugby league are second placed Lichfield Ladies whom have supplied a number of high-profile England Internationals over the years. Aylesford Bulls Ladies who are affiliated with Aviva Premiership side Harlequins will also not feature as they are being replaced by Harlequin FC.
The competition will receive a multi-million pound investment from the RFU over the next three years to help deliver the minimum standards expected and provide high-quality coaching, facilities, training environments and community engagement plans.
The announcement reflects the increasing popularity and success of women’s rugby in England following the Red Roses’ success of winning the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2014 and Great Britain playing in the first Sevens competition of the Olympic Games last year in Rio.
This season has seen the RFU announce its ambitions to double the number of women and girls playing rugby to 50,000 and the arrival of 15-a-side professional contracts ahead of eagerly anticipated Women’s Rugby World Cup in August this year.