Elite women find themselves at a crossroads as investment in Premier 15 sparks new scrutiny

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And more change could be in the air. As London Irish, Ealing Trailfinders and Leicester Tigers have all year announced their intention to claim Premier 15s status in two years, investing in a women and girls program has suddenly become overwhelming. fashionable, amid rumors that Premiership Rugby has expressed interest in taking over the Premier 15 with a view to fully commercializing the competition.

A more forensic examination of the current rankings shows a handful of clubs close to the top clearly benefiting from the financial strength provided by a men’s Premiership team. Even the Waspswomen swapped their Twyford Avenue pitch for the Coventry Building Society Arena over the weekend and are now based in the Midlands one day a week, while Leicester hosted a historic women’s match at Welford Road last Saturday.

Northampton has also tried to jump on the bandwagon, after announcing a somewhat vague partnership with Loughborough Lightning last month. Oddly enough, holding the Premier 15s is expected to get “minimal” financial backing from the deal, which was reportedly orchestrated by John Steele, executive director of sports at Loughborough University whose tenure as CEO of the Rugby Football Union. in 2010 lasted nine months. .

This lends itself to a much larger question – with the demotion of historic women’s clubs like Richmond and Firwood Waterloo – who were left out of Premier 15 two seasons ago due to lack of funding, those who haven’t. invested with a great male ally prosper? ?

Saracens Women’s Rugby Director Alex Austerberry, who has previously expressed support for enduring DMP Durham Sharks fighters, sincerely believes it’s possible, but only if clubs are equipped with the right resources and the right league model in which operate. “Important discussions are taking place with the clubs, with the Rugby Football Union on what the future looks like,” said Austerberry. Sport Telegraph. “I think it’s important that all programs, shapes and sizes are taken into account.

Five rounds after the start of the 2021-22 season, and it feels like the elite women are at a crossroads.


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