Sale Sharks Women will kick off their Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby season with an away fixture against Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate, it was revealed today.
A new era for women’s rugby in England kicks off this Autumn with confirmation today of the opening round of fixtures for the in augural competition.
Contested by ten teams there are two new sides in the league, with the arrival of Leicester Tigers and Trailfinders Women in the elite division of English women’s rugby.
Trailfinders Women begin life in newly formed Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby with a mouth-watering London derby, Harlequins making the short trip to Ealing on the opening weekend of 17-19 November. While Tigers also start at home to last season’s runners-up, Exeter Chiefs.
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Holders Gloucester-Hartpury kick off the defence of their title with a short trip to Sixways where Warriors Women lie in wait. Last June, Sean Lynn’s side beat Exeter Chiefs 34-19 in an unforgettable final at ‘Queensholm’, in front of almost 10,000 fans, so will be focused on a positive start this time around.
Ashton Gate will be the scene for Bristol Bears’ clash with Sale Sharks while Loughborough Lightning make the trip to north London to face 2022 winners Saracens on the opening weekend.
Sharks’ Women’s Performance Coach Rachel Taylor said: “We feel like the level of professionalism is ramping up and up and we feel like we’re in a good place and ready to go compared to seasons before.
“This season is all about being better than we were last year. There were games we didn’t win last season that we want to close out this year.”
After the success of the club’s Northern Rugby Matters programme last season, a big aim of the women’s team is to inspire the next generation of girls in the north to pick up a rugby ball and give the game a go.
And Katy says that’s a responsibility the players embrace.
She added: “You inspire the next generation by being successful and giving girls something to be proud of. Our players do that already day in, day out with the commitment they show to the programme.
“Now it’s about taking the next step. We want them to show the quality we know they have as a team and that will massively inspire young girls to give the sport a go.”
Carolyn Rich, head of brand marketing and social responsibility at Allianz said: “After three years of sponsoring the Allianz Premier 15s we are excited to see how the Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby will reach new audiences and grow the game.
“It’s a really promising time for women’s sport, especially rugby, and we are proud to be part of it. We are particularly looking forward to the start of the new season and to welcome the new clubs to the competition.”
The Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby semi-finals will take place on the weekend of 7-9 June with the final two weeks later on 22 June.
The elite women’s rugby season in England will kick off in September with the Allianz Cup. The cup fixtures will be announced at 2pm on Wednesday 9 August.