EXETER CHIEFS are unlikely to be the last Premiership club to form a women’s side. Sale Sharks, who could take Waterloo’s place, and Newcastle Falcons are also interested in a franchise bid.
The Chiefs are believed to be pumping around £500,000 into the women’s side but the price tag is unlikely to put off the Sharks or the Falcons.
A chance has presented itself to clubs nationwide to apply for a place in the Premier 15s league as the RFU’s director of professional rugby Nigel Melville and head of women’s performance Nicky Ponsford put plans in place for the next cycle of the competition.
In August, Ponsford confirmed an audit had been commissioned for all ten clubs over the course of this season.
The findings of which will rank the operation of the teams and their ability to grow women’s rugby.
Four teams will be at risk of losing their place in the league but will have the opportunity to address their position with a selection panel.
The inclusion of a Newcastle-based side would provide bigger scope for the expansion of rugby in the north of the country, with there currently being seven teams based south of Loughborough Lightning.
Exeter confirmed earlier this month their new women’s team would be coached by Susie Appleby and Amy Garnett.
Chiefs chairman Tony Rowe said: “It’s been an ambition of mine for a while now to get a women’s team up and running and we see this as a fantastic opportunity to make us not only a completely rounded club, but a club who are working incredibly hard to promote the women’s game in this country.”
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