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RFU announces 10-team women's Super Rugby competition

Kieran Galvin/NurPhoto via Getty Images

English rugby bosses will plough millions of pounds into a 10-team Women's Super Rugby competition to start in September.

The new domestic league competition will be aimed at boosting the professionalism of the fast-growing women's game.

Bristol, Darlington Mowden Park, Firwood Waterloo Ladies, Harlequins, Gloucester-Hartpury, Loughborough Students, Richmond, Saracens, Wasps and Worcester will contest the inaugural competition.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has offered the places after an independently-chaired application process.

RFU's professional rugby director Nigel Melville said: "This is another significant development for women's rugby in this country.

"Women's Super Rugby will drive standards in the game, both domestically and at an elite level, and continue to encourage more women and girls to play the sport.

"I would like to congratulate the 10 clubs on their successful applications which have resulted in them being offered a place in the new competition.

"We now have the opportunity to build a world-class domestic competition, with the backing and funding of the RFU, demonstrating the union's commitment to growing the game at all levels."

England Women won the World Cup in 2014 with many of the stars returning home from France and heading straight back to full-time jobs.

This new domestic league, backed by significant RFU investment, will be designed to help alleviate such future conflicts.

The RFU's head of women's performance Nicky Ponsford said: "We are really excited about the innovative opportunity that Women's Super Rugby gives us to reach new participants and attract new fans to the game, and we are determined to make the most of this opportunity."