Exeter Chiefs Women join Gloucester-Hartpury and Bristol Bears Women in Premier rugby division

The new Exeter Chiefs Women side is rapidly taking shape. Credit: ITV News

Exeter Chiefs Women have been invited to join Bristol Bears Women and Gloucester-Hartpury Women in England's top-flight rugby competition.

The three West Country clubs join seven others from around the country to have been selected by the Rugby Football Union to compete in the Tyrrells Premier 15s division for the 2020/21-2022/23 seasons.

The newly-formed Devon outfit is fully integrated with the men's club at Sandy Park and the coaching team - former England Women’s internationals Susie Appleby and Amy Garnett - have been busy trialling players in recent months to prepare for next season.

The club's chief executive says he is delighted the their application has been successful.

Bristol Bears and Gloucester-Hartpury have been given the nod to retain their top-tier status after all of this season's clubs were audited on "their ability to deliver the competition’s Minimum Operating Standards and their on pitch performance."

The bottom four ranked teams were invited to reapply for a place at the top table, alongside any other RFY member clubs, universities and colleges.

Subject to appeals, the following 10 clubs will form the Tyrrells Premier 15s for the next three years:

  • Bristol Bears Women

  • Darlington Mowden Park Sharks

  • Exeter Chiefs Women

  • Gloucester-Hartpury Women

  • Harlequins Women

  • Loughborough Lightning

  • Sale Sharks Women

  • Saracens Women

  • Wasps FC Ladies

  • Worcester Warriors Women