The Betfred Women’s Super League will continue its growth in 2020 with the addition of two new teams – Huddersfield Giants and Warrington Wolves.
It will be the third consecutive year of expansion since the WSL was launched by the Rugby Football League in 2017, with a growth of 150% from the original four teams to 10 in 2020.
Huddersfield and Warrington both entered the Women’s Rugby League Championship for the first time in 2019, and met the necessary on-field standards by finishing in the top four of the table – the Wolves going on to win the Grand Final at the Manchester Regional Arena last month.
They have each been granted Super League membership for two seasons (2020 and 2021) after their applications for promotion to the Betfred Women’s Super League were accepted by the RFL’s WSL Management Group. Key strengths of their applications were commitments to coaching, and to the girls’ pathway which underpins the Women’s programme funded by the RFL, Sport England, and investment by clubs and Foundations.
Thomas Brindle, the RFL’s Head of Growth, said:
“This is another positive step in the Betfred Women’s Super League success story. Congratulations are due to Huddersfield and Warrington for the progress they have made in a relatively short period of time to be able to meet the standards required. It’s also testament to all involved in the thriving Championship competition.
“The expansion to seven clubs in 2018 and eight in 2019 has undoubtedly enhanced the stature of the competition and of women’s Rugby League, as we’ve seen so excitingly this year with our first title sponsors in Betfred, a number of significant attendance milestones, regular coverage on Our League and Twitch, and live Friday night coverage of the Grand Final on Sky Sports.
“We have a significant goal of increasing the number of women and girls playing Rugby League to 21,000 by 2021 – when England will host the Women’s World Cup alongside Men’s and Wheelchair competitions.
“The England team are currently in Papua New Guinea on a groundbreaking tour which is an important part of their World Cup preparations, following their appearance in the World Cup Nines in Sydney last month.
“The Betfred Women’s Super League is another key part of that wider strategy of inspiring a generation. The number of women’s and girls teams has doubled in the last two years, and it’s great to add another two committed Rugby League clubs into the Super League mix.
“The expansion will provide a few additional challenges around the fixture schedule, but we are working on a solution to that which we hope to announce, along with details of the 2020 BWSL Grand Final, before the end of the year.”
Lee Westwood, who coaches Warrington Wolves Women as part of his role as a Community Coach with the Wolves Foundation, said:
“It’s fantastic to have been promoted to the Women’s Super League after a very successful year in the Championship.
“We look forward to playing the other Super League teams over at the Asics Stadium, which is a one of the best facilities in the town, and one that the ladies made their home last season.
“We will continue to run under the Foundation next year, which allows us to continue the growth of both the women’s and girls games in the Warrington area, after a very successful first season both on and off the field.”
Lisa Darwin, Chief Executive of Huddersfield Giants Community Trust, said:
“Huddersfield Giants Community Trust is delighted to be operating the Giants Women’s team in the Super League this coming season.
“Giants Women team started out as an Under-19s team in 2018, progressing to the Championship last season. Being part of the Betfred Women’s Super League can only improve our profile and growth, allowing the Trust to have a larger impact for women’s and girls sport within Huddersfield and the surrounding areas.”