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Woman's Premiership boss 'baffled' at Lichfield exclusion

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,

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  1. Melissa Wright

Report: Lichfield Ladies left out of Super Rugby league

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.

Petition over Lichfield exclusion gets 5000 signatures

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.

Lichfield players 'devastated' at Super Rugby exclusion

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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Italy's Festuccia returns to Wasps on short-term deal

Carlo Festuccia Credit: PA

Former Italy, Wasps and Zebre hooker, Carlo Festuccia, has re-joined Wasps on a short-term contract until the end of the 2016/17.

The 36-year-old made more than 60 appearances for Wasps during his time at the club between 2013 and 2016.

He returns to provide cover after injuries to Tom Cruse and George Edgson, with Tommy Taylor named in England’s 34-man-squad for the RBS 6 Nations.

“I'm really pleased to return to the Wasps’ environment after three fantastic years with the club. It has been great to see the team doing really well this year and I'm very happy to help them until the end of the season. I have enjoyed being back home in Italy, but it has been a very tough six months on the rugby side. I wish Zebre the very best for the rest of the season and I look forward to meeting back up with the Wasps’ squad and Wasps fans.”

– Carlo Festuccia
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