The 2019/20 Tyrrells Premier 15s league will kick off its third campaign on 21st/22nd September.
It will once again be played over 18 rounds, culminating with play-offs and a title final on 30 May 2020 (venue TBC).
With no promotion or relegation last season as was the case in the inaugural competition, there are no changes to the 10 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.
Holders Saracens Women kick off their campaign with a trip to Bristol Bears while Richmond make the short journey to The Stoop to face newly re-branded Harlequins Women, runners-up for the last two seasons.
Elsewhere, last year’s semi-finalists Loughborough Lightning play at home against Darlington Mowden Park Sharks while Wasps are also at home to face Worcester. Firwood Waterloo take on Gloucester Hartpury in the remaining opening round fixture.
Harlequins Women has also announced the 2020 edition of their annual Game Changer fixture, where they will play Wasps FC Ladies on 11 April at The Stoop in a celebration of the women’s game. The following weekend Wasps FC Ladies will face Richmond F.C., this time in the Big Swarm at Twyford Avenue.
The first two seasons saw the division’s official Twitter and Instagram accounts grow to more than 10k followers combined and more than 90 players earned senior international call ups across the 10 teams.
The development league continues this season with clubs required to field a second XV in that competition driving standards across each club as players develop and push for places in the first team.
RFU Head of Women’s Performance Nicky Ponsford said: “We’ve witnessed continued progress over the first two campaigns and know we’re in for another exciting seven months of rugby. We’ve seen some player movement in the off season so we are expecting the competition to be even tighter than it was last year which is great for all of us and really underlines how competitive the league has become .
“Last season, the standard of the league was fantastic and it was great to see so many players go on to represent the Red Roses and perform on the international stage.
“It’s a real whole-game effort and we are very much looking forward to continuing our work with clubs to help grow the women’s game.”
Tyrrells’ Marketing Manager, Sarah Lawson, said: “We are incredibly proud of our partnership with the RFU, and to be sponsoring the inaugural elite women’s rugby competition, Tyrrells Premier 15s.
“The past season has been fantastic with the introduction of the ground-breaking pro-contacts for the England Women’s team; a positive step that has changed the landscape of women’s rugby for the future. We are determined to continue helping the RFU increase participation and interest in the women’s game and encourage greater numbers of spectators to attend women’s matches.
“As another iconic English brand, we have built a great relationship with the RFU and look forward to the season ahead and taking the game to new heights.”
The RFU has been working internally to agree the mechanism for teams to come in and out of the league for year four. Further detail on this process will be confirmed later this month.
Download the full fixture list for each club here.
Courtesy of the RFU