Rugby League

Womens Super League

27 Apr 2023

New second tier competitions to fuel expansion of Women’s Super League

New second tier competitions to fuel expansion of Women’s Super League

The Rugby Football League today announces another significant step in the development of the Women’s and Girl’s game with confirmation of the launch of two new regions – Midlands and North – to complete tier two of a national competition pyramid. 

Cheltenham Phoenix, Coventry Bears, Leamington Royals and Telford Raiders will take part in the Women’s Super League (WSL) Midlands, playing one another at home and away before a top of the table clash on August Bank Holiday decides who will be crowned the inaugural champions.

Before the WSL Midlands season kicks off on the weekend of 10/11 June, the Royals will have already dipped their toes into competitive action in Warrington on Sunday 14 May when they take part in the annual Women’s Nines tournament at Victoria Park. 

Coventry Bears are making a return to the women’s game and this new regional league means they can offer competitive games once again, much to the delight of the club who have seen a surge in interest since the Rugby League World Cup. And though Cheltenham Phoenix and Telford Raiders will be completely new to Rugby League, both teams are relishing the opportunities that lie ahead.

WSL North will have a ‘soft launch’ this summer, with a series of matches between Newcastle and Workington Town RLFC. The aim is to introduce a Scottish team in 2024. 

The new second tier competition has also led to the formation of a Southern Regions Cup, which will consist of any WSL Midlands or WSL South teams not competing in the Betfred Challenge Cup. Fixtures for the competition’s group stage will be announced in due course.

England Women Captain, Jodie Cunningham, who is also the RFL’s National Women and Girl’s Development Manager, says:

“We’re just days away from England Women’s first international game of the year, so this is the perfect moment to announce the launch of these tier two competitions. The regional competitions are such an important part of our plans for the development and growth of Women and Girl’s Rugby League and it’s exciting to be a part of it. 

“The Midlands teams have shown so much enthusiasm and passion, and it’s fantastic to see the growth of Rugby League in an area that isn’t typically known for the sport. We are just at the beginning of our regional strategy, and we are always happy to support any new clubs who would like to be involved in WSL North or Midlands – including any Rugby Union sides who would like to give League a go. I’d welcome anyone interested to get in touch.”

RFL Head of Development, Thomas Brindle, explains: 

“The opening round of WSL Midlands fixtures will take place in June and the intention is for the competition to become one of four feeder leagues into the Betfred Women’s Super League – the remaining three regions will be North, Roses and South.

“From 2024 the Betfred Women’s Super League will expand to a single eight-team competition, underpinned by four feeder leagues in the North, Roses Midlands and South – establishing a pathway for ambitious clubs from all parts of the UK to earn promotion to the elite level.

“This is all part of our new national pyramid that was announced earlier this year which will help us continue growing the Women and Girl’s game across the country and we are already seeing the benefit of this in the formation of the Southern Regions Cup.

“The competition will consist of a group stage and Semi-Finals with the remaining two teams facing one another in a double header which will be played alongside the Men’s Midlands Final.” 

Any teams interested in taking part in either the Midlands or South competitions should contact