Wasps and Saracens among 10 teams announced for Women's Super Rugby
Last Updated: 28/02/17 4:17pm
Wasps and Saracens are among 10 teams to be offered places in the inaugural season of Women's Super Rugby.
Saracens Women and Wasps FC Ladies have been invited to compete in England's first professional women's competition, which will commence in September 2017.
They are joined by Bristol Ladies Rugby Ltd, Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, Firwood Waterloo Ladies, Harlequin FC, Gloucester-Hartpury Women's RFC, Loughborough Students (Lightning), Richmond FC and Worcester Valkyries.
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The competition's structure will see all teams playing each other on a home and away basis, with the top four teams at the end of the home-and-away season qualifying for the play-offs which follow a 1 v 4, 2 v 3 system - the two winners will then meet in the final.
All clubs will have to meet the Rugby Football Union's Minimum Standards Criteria to remain in the competition and there will be no promotion or relegation in the first two seasons of the competition.
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."