Gloucester-Hartpury awarded 2023-24 Allianz Premier 15s place
The RFU today confirmed that Gloucester-Hartpury is one of eight teams offered a spot in the 2023-24 Allianz Premier 15s competition.
During a thorough tendering process, Gloucester-Hartpury presented a strong proposal to provide a sustainable and exciting future for women’s football in Gloucestershire.
Gloucester Rugby CEO Lance Bradley and Hartpury University & College CEO Andy Collop agree that confirming Gloucester-Hartpury’s place in next season’s competition is another important step in shaping the future of women’s rugby is in Gloucestershire.
“We are delighted that Gloucester-Hartpury’s position has been confirmed for the 2023/24 Allianz Premier 15s season. Following our announcement over the summer that significant additional funds would be invested in the Gloucester-Hartpury scheme, we believe we are in a prime position to be at the forefront of women’s rugby’s continued rise.
“Together we at Gloucester Rugby & Hartpury University & College have developed a solid plan to create a sustainable path for women’s football in our proud Rugby County and we are very excited about the journey that lies ahead.”
Currently sitting at the top of the Allianz Premier 15 table, the Cherry & Whites will take on DMP Sharks on Sunday (2pm kick-off) at the Alpas Arena in Hartpury.
The RFU can confirm that the tender process has selected eight clubs to be offered a place in the Allianz Premier 15s competition from the 2023/24 season, subject to the signing of shareholder and other agreements.
The clubs selected at this stage following a competitive bidding process that resulted in strong proposals being submitted are:
- Bristol carries women
- Ealing Trailfinders women
- Exeter Rugby Club
- Gloucester-Hartpury Women RFC
- Harlequins FC
- Leicester Tiger
- Loughborough Lightning/Northampton Saints
The league has capacity for ten teams and although a number of clubs have not yet been selected to take part at this stage, there is a possibility of clubs joining the league at a later date. The RFU and Women’s Premier 15 Ltd (WP15) will continue to work with these clubs on their potential to participate in the league.
The selection panel also made a strong recommendation for the RFU and WP15 to explore how to achieve greater geographical diversification in the league. This process will begin in January when discussions with clubs and institutions take place and will form part of the wider review of the RFU structure of women’s competitions in England.
The RFU, as part of the review of the women’s competition, have been working over the past six months to come up with a solution for those clubs who have not been offered a place at the time and for those wishing to join the Premier 15 in the future, now know , who is concerned, it will proceed with the last phase of this work. The RFU will work with clubs to consult and discuss options in the new year.
Clubs that have not been offered a place in next season’s Allianz Premier 15 can appeal and this process is expected to be completed by the end of February.
Alex Teasdale, RFU Women’s Game Director, said: “I would like to thank all the clubs currently competing in the Allianz Premier 15s competition for their part in making it the success it is today. Her contribution has been invaluable and the league has set the benchmark for women’s football around the world.
“We had a wide range of clubs and institutions that submitted proposals and we want to thank them for all the hard work, time and energy they put into the bidding process.”
Charlie Hayter, RFU Women’s Rugby Performance Manager, said: “This process is part of the 10-year strategy for the Premier 15, which aims to build on the success of the current league and continue to see the league as the most competitive, progressive and sustainable league to advance in the world. We want to create a league that inspires both players and fans and continues to develop talented athletes at the highest level.
“This will happen concurrently with work on a broader women’s and girls’ plan to accelerate the growth of women’s football in this country.”