The head of the top women's rugby competition in England says he's 'baffled' by the decision to leave one of the most established teams out of next season's new elite league.
Lichfield Ladies are currently second in England's top flight competition, but were not included when the lineup for the new elite competition, Super Rugby, was announced last month. Mark Francis, chairman of the current Women's Premiership Group, says he's thrilled at the RFU's decision to invest millions in women's elite rugby - but wants them to reconsider leaving Lichfield out.
The RFU says that successful candidates had to demonstrate suitability against 'set criteria and minimum standards', but add that they'll be supporting any teams not chosen for the new competition with their future ambitions to compete in Super Rugby,
There's shock and disappointment this week after Lichfield Ladies, one of the most established women's sides in English rugby, were left out of the new top flight women's competition.
The new Super Rugby tournament begins next season - but Lichfield is the only current Premiership side to be left out, despite being second in the league and producing some of the biggest England stars. More than five thousand people have signed a petition urging the RFU to re-consider. Melissa Wright reports.
A petition urging the Rugby Football Union to reconsider its decision to leave Lichfield Ladies out of the new top women's competition has attracted more than 5000 signatures.
The club is currently second in the Premiership - but the RFU say certain criteria and standards had to be met to be included in the new Super League competition.
- Hear from Lichfield players about the decision.
There's been outcry from rugby fans after Lichfield Ladies, one of the most established women's sides in English rugby, were left out of the new top flight women's competition.
The Super Rugby tournament begins next season - but Lichfield are the only current Premiership side to be left out, despite sitting second in the league and producing some of our biggest England stars. Today, a petition urging the RFU to re-consider hit five thousand signatures. The team say the news has been a huge shock for players.
- Here from Lichfield Director of rugby Becky Williams below.
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