- 2019-20 Welsh Women’s Premiership fixtures released
- Whites Women away to Bonymaen
- Pencoed are first visitors to St Helen’s
- New look Welsh women’s rugby set out.
The 2019-20 Women’s Premiership campaign starts in the first week of September and Bonymaen WRFC will be hosts to Swansea WRFC on the opening day. The newly promoted WRU Women’s National League Division 1 Champions will prove a solid test for the Whites Women.
The Swansea team, led again by Welsh international Siwan Lillicrap, will continue the campaign to reclaim the Premiership title by hosting Pencoed the following week at St Helen’s on 15th September. Swansea were pipped to the title by Pontyclun last season and so were denied a third consecutive league title, but went on to win the Super Cup for the third successive season.
Motivation is strong this term to raise the bar again and bring more silverware to the club whilst allowing new young players to develop in the club atmosphere that has been so successful.
This reflects Swansea RFC’s enthusiasm for the new development structure introduced by the WRU this season, where ‘Hubs’ attracting new, young players aged 6 to 18 will be integrated into established women’s clubs around Wales. See SWRFC fixture list HERE
Be sure to come and support the Swansea RFC Women’s team during 2019-20 and don’t forget that your season ticket includes ALL WOMEN’S MATCHES played at St Helen’s. Catch the ‘Early Bird’ Swansea RFC Season Ticket deal. Details HERE.
The fixtures have been released for the 2019 senior, youth and junior League season (September to December, see below) after which there will be a winter break and the new-look season will begin for all women and girls in Wales on March 1 2020.
From March 1 2020, all female domestic rugby in Wales will be licensed via the Female Hubs to nurture the development of a strong future pathway for women and girls.
The 32 Female Hubs around Wales, which currently provide fun-based girls-only rugby for 6 – 18 year olds, have grown into sustainable models for girls’ rugby outside school and college. They have become vibrant brands based at neutral venues with solid volunteer structures. From next spring, all women’s clubs in Wales will come under the umbrella of a Female Hub. The established clubs and Hubs will work together to mutual benefit – the clubs will benefit from an injection of players generated by the success of the Hubs and girls will now have a clear playing and volunteering pathway from age 6 to 96. A mapping exercise is underway to ensure the best possible pathway for girls throughout their rugby journey and all clubs have been invited to express an interest in becoming part of the Female Hub family.
From a senior and youth perspective, the new season structure will kick off with cup competitions, culminating in a women’s finals day while, in the midst of the Women’s Six Nations, the Female Hubs will begin their recruitment and pre-season for mini and junior rugby in earnest. This will be followed by the playing season which will include Hub festivals and alternative rugby formats for all ages. The Regional Programme will again run throughout July and August, before the senior and youth League season kicks off again in September, running until the end of the year ahead of a winter break.
WRU General Manager for Women and Girls, Charlotte Wathan said, “We have over 1.5 million women and girls living in our communities and our pledge is to inspire a whole generation to play, support or be involved in the female game. We are on a journey to embed women and girls’ rugby in the hearts and minds of the people of Wales.
“We know there is ever-increasing demand from girls throughout Wales to play rugby, both in the education system and within the community. There is huge potential for significant further growth of women and girls’ rugby in the coming years and it’s vital we cater for that demand, while also ensuring there is a clear pathway to the senior game. The volunteers involved with the Female Hubs around Wales have worked hard to become vibrant and sustainable entities and we believe the senior women’s game will benefit by being a part of the Hub family. We feel that supporting the Female Hubs will create an ability to further nurture and grow the female game in Wales, whilst aligning the pathway to ensure a clear transition from mini to senior rugby.
“By looking at the entirety of the women’s rugby landscape in Wales, we strongly believe the new season structure is the best possible model to maximise the increased interest and profile of the women’s game and make significant steps to grow the game further.”
Last season’s Premiership winners Pontyclun Falcons will begin the forthcoming League season away to Pencoed while Super Cup champions Swansea make the short journey to Bonymaen, who have been promoted to the Premiership from last season’s Division One. The other fixture of the round sees Burry Port host Whitland. Llandaff North kick off their season in Round Two, away to Whitland. The North Wales League has become a National League in its own right with Caernarfon joining its ranks.
The remaining clubs, including seven additional teams who have completed the League Licence criteria will form a new, 24-team Merit Table beneath the Premiership division. The Merit Table has been organised on a meritocracy basis with each team playing another five teams home and away. Following consultation with the clubs, the teams in the Merit Table will be rewarded for various criteria including the number of players used, the development of players from within the club without reliance on the permit system and good discipline on and off the field – in order to help grow the game in Wales. While the fixtures should be fairly evenly matched to produce meaningful fixtures, the results of the matches will not affect the Merit Table.