Sale Sharks have today officially launched the ‘Northern Rugby Matters’ campaign in a bid to increase awareness and celebrate rugby in the region, and raise important funding for Sale Sharks Women. 

The new initiative – teased by Sharks on social media recently alongside amateur clubs across the north – follows the news that the women’s team has been offered a conditional place to compete in next season’s Premier 15s, the top division of women’s rugby in England. 

Among the conditions outlined is a requirement for the women’s team to be financially sustainable, independent of owner funding.

This means that, despite the long-standing and ongoing investment of our owners, who remain wholly committed to the club and will continue to provide significant financial support, there is still work to do in order to ensure the women’s game in the north is supported and properly funded going forward.

A big part of that is ensuring that Sale Sharks Women becomes a competitive and sustainable operation going into the 2023/24 season and beyond.

So today the club is also announcing the start of a crowdfunding campaign, designed to support the growth of the women’s team and the wider game in the north, giving supporters, local businesses and the wider community a chance to be involved with the only northern team competing at the elite level of domestic women’s rugby.

To provide a legacy for the campaign beyond its end date, the names of those who donate will feature on a permanent fans’ wall of fame at Sharks’ Carrington Training Centre, where both the men’s and women’s team are based.

The club was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for the women’s team in the aftermath of the original decision not to award a place in the Premier 15s, and we are now calling on our supporters to harness that passion for the greater good of rugby, both across the entire region and at all levels of the game.

Today’s announcement – launched via an open letter from Women’s Performance Coach, Rachel Taylor and Director of Rugby, Alex Sanderson – marks the beginning of a series of promotional activities over the coming weeks, with the highly anticipated upcoming men’s clash between Sharks and Saracens to also become the club’s first-ever dedicated International Women’s Day fixture. 

Sharks’ Co-Owner, Michelle Orange, said: “We’re really excited about the future of both our women’s team as well as women’s rugby in the north, and our latest campaign is an extension of our ongoing commitment to the women’s game. 

“We’re also proud to be an inclusive and welcoming club, and to have the full support of our men’s team as part of such an important fixture shows we are all united behind the cause. 

“Through our community programmes including Mission Sharks Primary and Girls Tackle Rugby, as well as the Women’s Centre of Excellence, we want to provide opportunities for women and girls across the region to play rugby.  

“It’s crucial that we provide a platform for our women to compete and succeed, so we hope the entire region gets right behind this initiative and supports us via the fundraiser.” 

Further exciting details surrounding the campaign, including the Saracens fixture, will be confirmed in due course. 

Supporters are encouraged to get involved in the club’s new campaign by posting on social media using the hashtag #NorthernRugbyMatters. 

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