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Bristol Ladies To Play In New Women's Super Rugby Competition

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has today announced that Bristol Ladies are one of 10 clubs that have been offered places, subject to contract, in the new women’s domestic competition from September 2017.

 

Women’s Super Rugby is a major development for the women’s game in England and will significantly raise the standards of rugby domestically and help support the Red Roses’ ambition to be the number one team in the world. It is also expected to help grow participation and create new commercial partnerships to help underpin the competition.  

Following a rigorous and independently-chaired application process, the 10 successful teams that have been offered a place in the Women’s Super Rugby, subject to contract, are:

  • 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

All applicants will be required to deliver against a set of minimum operating standards, which are designed to create an infrastructure within the clubs to support an increasingly professional game.

The key focus of these minimum standards include:

  • To develop a professional coaching resource to support players in training throughout the week
  • To provide teams with regular and expert sports science support and medical provision for both training and match-days
  • To improve the training and playing environment.

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.

"This is an exceptionally exciting time for Bristol Ladies and women's elite rugby", comments Bristol Ladies CEO Heidi Chapman-Mercer.

"It is a true testament to Bristol Ladies Rugby that the RFU believe we deserve a place at the forefront of women's rugby and have the infrastructure to support the development of international players from the South West.

"We believe our on field performances played a key role in the decision process and both myself and the board are looking forward to seeing the club thrive in this new league."

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.

RFU Director of Professional Rugby Nigel Melville said: “This is another significant development for women’s rugby in this country. Women’s Super Rugby will drive standards in the game, both domestically and at an elite level, and continue to encourage more women and girls to play the sport.

“I would like to congratulate the 10 clubs on their successful applications which have resulted in them being offered a place in the new competition. We now have the opportunity to build a world-class domestic competition, with the backing and funding of the RFU, demonstrating the union’s commitment to growing the game at all levels.”

RFU Head of Women’s Performance Nicky Ponsford added: “We are really excited about the innovative opportunity that Women’s Super Rugby gives us to reach new participants and attract new fans to the game, and we are determined to make the most of this opportunity.”