In February 2017, the RFU announced the 10 clubs that would partake in the new Tier 1 league. The choice was controversial as all Women’s Premiership teams (Aylesford Bulls Ladies being taken over by Harlequin F.C. and becoming Harlequins Ladies) were included … with the exception of Lichfield Ladies despite their 15-year stint in the top flight of English women’s rugby.
In their place were clubs that had never participated in the Women’s Premiership including Gloucester-Hartpury Women and Loughborough Students (Lightning). The Lichfield Ladies director of rugby said: “We’re disgusted, disappointed and dumbfounded by the decision.” A number of high-profile figures also protested at the exclusion of Lichfield including the men’s Leicester Tigers and the Conservative MP for Lichfield, Michael Fabricant who said he would challenge it in Parliament, citing the Equality Act 2010 in that the men’s English Premiership had 12 teams while the Women’s Super League only had 10.
The champions of Championship 1 South, Thurrock T-Birds also said that they would appeal against their exclusion from the new league. However, both appeals were unsuccessful.
PREMIER 15S A LEAGUE 2017/18.
The new world order also affected the 2nd XV fixtures and most people in the game could not see how newcomers like Loughborough and Gloucester were ever going to field 2 complete squads in time for the first round.
It was a bit hit and miss, but matches were played. You can Click here to jump down to the A League Standings and Results.