An independently verified audit took place in the first half of the 2019/20 season where each current Tyrrells Premier 15s club was assessed based on a combination of their ability to deliver the competition’s Minimum Operating Standards and their on pitch performance.
Clubs were then ranked from one to 10 based on the audit results.
Bristol Bears Women, Gloucester-Hartpury Women, Harlequins Women, Loughborough Lightning, Saracens Women and Wasps FC Ladies (listed in alphabetical order) were the top six ranked teams and have been invited to join the next three-year league structure covering seasons 2020/21 to 2022/23.
Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, Firwood Waterloo Ladies, Richmond FC and Worcester Warriors Women (also listed in alphabetical order) were the bottom four ranked teams and therefore have been invited to retender for a place in the competition.
Applications for tender were also open to the wider game – the deadline to submit applications has now passed.
A selection panel will now review and shortlist all the tender applications before inviting clubs to interview.
The current bottom four ranked Tyrrells Premier 15s clubs will be automatically shortlisted for interview.
Following the interview process, four clubs will then be invited to join the league starting from the 2020/21 season.
This 10-club structure will be maintained for three years and then reviewed again.
As the tender process is ongoing, the RFU will be making no further comment at this time and will update in due course.