Sale Sharks Women will kick off the 2021/22 Allianz Premier 15s season by welcoming Worcester Warriors to the CorpAcq Stadium, Heywood Rd, it was announced today.
Callum Yorke and Katy Daley-McLean’s first game in charge sees last season’s seventh placed side make the trip to the North West on the weekend of September 4/5.
Your Sharks, who finished ninth in their debut season, will travel south in round two to face Exeter Chiefs a week later, and that’s followed by a home clash in round three with Gloucester-Hartpury.
Round four sees the Sharks Women head to the west country to face Bristol Bears before another away fixture, this time against the league’s other sharks – DMP Durham Sharks.
The final fixture of the regular season sees the Sharks travel to Worcester to face Jo Yapp’s Warriors on the weekend of May 14/15.
The Allianz Premier15s will once again be played over 18 rounds, culminating with play-offs (21 May 2022) and a final (4 June 2022, venue TBC).
With no promotion or relegation, there are no changes to the ten teams within England’s top flight of women’s domestic rugby, operating in a league format with home and away fixtures.
As with last season, the top four teams will play their semi-final over one leg, hosted at the respective grounds of the first and second ranked team after the conclusion of the regular season.
A total of ten reserve weekends have been included.
And the new season also sees the introduction of the Allianz Cup which has been created to give an opportunity to wider squad players to compete during international windows.
Clubs will be ranked by their 2021/22 league finishing position and then drawn in two pools of five, with clubs playing each other once in two home games, two away games, one BYE week over five rounds.
The top two teams in each pool will progress to the semi-finals played at the highest ranked clubs’ venues (April 16, 2022) as well as a third-placed play-off and showpiece final (both 22 April 2022).
The Allianz Cup final will be played at the home venue of the winning semi-finalist club with the highest points’ difference.
The bottom four ranked teams will enter fifth, seventh and ninth placed play-off finals with the home team once again determined by stage one league tables.
The cup competition also gives greater exposure to every Allianz Premier 15s round.
RFU Director of Performance Rugby, Conor O’Shea said: “The standard of the Allianz Premier 15s is growing year-on-year.
“Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, all of our clubs did an incredible job on and off the field to ensure we continued momentum and completed what was a very competitive campaign last season culminating in a memorable final at Kingsholm – their hard work, effort and dedication is appreciated.
“We’re really looking forward to the forthcoming season.
“The calendar gives greater profile and exposure to every Allianz Premier 15s round and introduction of the Allianz Cup is a welcome and exciting development and provides vital game time for the wider squad players.
“The domestic season kicks off what is a huge 15 months of women’s rugby.”