Hot on the heels of the Betfred Women’s Super League and on the same weekend as the Quarter-finals of the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup, comes the return of more Women’s and Girl’s Rugby League.
The girl's game makes its long-awaited return this weekend, featuring new age groups at under 11s and 18s. More than 100 girl's teams are set to compete in 2021, with a record number of players.
Up to 26 women’s teams will take their place in three divisions below Super League level when competition returns in May.
A total of eight new women’s clubs have been established in northern England: Dewsbury Moor; Fryston Warriors; Illingworth; Methley Warriors; Scarborough Pirates; Sheffield Hawks; Sherwood Wolf Hunt and Swinton Lionesses.
Eight teams will compete in the Women’s Championship, each playing 14 games for a top-four play-off place. League 1 has six teams, while the north of England’s Merit League has been expanded to 12 teams.
Six clubs are expected to take their place in the new Women’s Southern Merit League which will sit below the new Betfred Women’s Super League South. They are: Bath; Battersea Ironsides; Brighton and Hove; Oxford Cavaliers; Swindon St George and Worcester Jaguars.
Marc Lovering, RFL Director of Participation and Development, says: "After the challenges of 2020 the girl’s teams are thrilled to be returning to competitive action this weekend.
"There have been some changes across the game on the back of a competition review carried out during the lockdown and we are very excited about the new offer. There will be a strong focus on development, fun and inclusion.
"A new competition structure is in place at under 14 and 16 levels, which sees a national premier division supported by two regional leagues and the introduction of new cup competitions. The under 16s will also have a ‘magic weekend’ for the very first time.
"The women's game goes from strength to strength, with new teams in the north and new competitions in the south. With more teams and more players nationwide, we are very excited at the potential for Women’s Rugby League.”
As more of Rugby League's community clubs and players return to competitive action this weekend, the RFL is keen to remind everybody involved that the Coronavirus hasn't yet gone away and that sport isn't out of the woods yet. All participants and spectators are being urged to follow the RFL's 'set of six' to stay safe and keep Rugby League firmly on the right path.
- Keep your hands clean
- Stay socially-distanced wherever possible
- Follow your club’s rules
- Respect those around you
- Self-isolate if showing Covid symptoms
- And, of course, enjoy the game