Women's Super Rugby Maintains Six-Team Format for Exciting Competition Ahead


Women’s Super Rugby Maintains Six-Team Format for Exciting Competition Ahead

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Rugby Australia has decided against expanding the Super W competition in 2024, opting instead to channel resources into women’s pathways, including the introduction of a new national youth competition. The announcement, made on Tuesday along with the release of the upcoming season’s draw, reveals that the competition will maintain its current format with five Australian teams and the inclusion of Fiji Drua, the reigning champions for the past two seasons. Notably, there will be no crossover with New Zealand’s women’s competition.

The upcoming season, comprised of a five-round schedule and a two-week finals series, is set to commence on Friday, March 15, with the Western Force hosting the Melbourne Rebels. Matches will predominantly be played as double-headers alongside the men’s Super Rugby Pacific competition. In a first, teams will participate in an official three-week pre-season, engaging in trial games against Oceania teams, including those from New Zealand and Japan.

Rugby Australia plans to augment its investment in the women’s high-performance program and player development pathways. The Next Gen Sevens will transform into the Super Rugby Women’s 7s competition, and a new Super Rugby women’s U19 competition will be launched. This move aligns with Rugby Australia’s commitment to bridging the gap between the women’s and men’s programs, as emphasized by Wallaroos skipper Michaela Leonard.

Leonard, currently in New Zealand for the inaugural WXV1 tournament, supports RA’s plans for the future. Two months ago, the Wallaroos and Rugby Australia were in a stand-off over program disparities, prompting RA to pledge steps toward a fully professional future for elite players and broader investment in women’s rugby across national and community competitions.

RA CEO Phil Waugh affirmed their commitment to expanding the Super W league when additional funding becomes available. Waugh acknowledged the desire for expansion in 2024 but emphasized the financial constraints, indicating that such an expansion would necessitate diverting resources from other vital areas of the women’s program.

“While we would have loved to expand the Super W competition – and we remain committed to doing so – the reality is that the investment required to do so for 2024 would have required the removal of funding from other areas of the women’s program, such as development, the new high-performance staff, and player payments,” Waugh stated. He also hinted at an upcoming phase of Rugby Australia’s strategic plan, covering the growth of the women’s game through the 2024 and 2025 seasons leading into the next Rugby World Cup in England.





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