The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has today announced that Darlington Mowden Park Sharks will be one of the 10 clubs to make up the new Women’s Super Rugby competition.
The NEW Women’s Super Rugby competition will commence its first season of the professionalised format of the RFU women’s domestic competition in September 2017, and is the first tier of the women’s English rugby union league system run by the Rugby Football Union. It will be contested by 10 English clubs. 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.
Reacting to the news, Lee Rust, Managing Director of Mowden Park commented: “We are delighted with the RFU’s decision to award Mowden Park one of the new Women’s Super Rugby Competition places. There was a very lengthy tender process with substantial competition from across the country including with the Men’s Premiership Clubs. To be awarded one of only ten league spots is an incredible achievement for our Club.”
Lee went on to praise the efforts of those involved: “The successful bid is no doubt testament to the endless work and success of our women’s team (Sharks) over the years and also the progress that Mowden Park has made as a whole. We must also thank all of our bid partners including our lead University, Durham. We’re looking forward to being part of an exciting step change in Women’s Rugby and, as the only North East team, to delivering something that the region will be proud of.”
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.
Mowden Park Sharks and England Women’s International Tamara Taylor was equally positive about the news: “We are absolutely delighted to be part of the new structure. Women’s rugby is going from strength to strength and we are looking forward to helping grow the game even more in the North East. We are incredibly proud of the talent that has come from our region”
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 Warriors RFC
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.”