Scottish Rugby unveil season structure revamp for women’s domestic game

A winter break is aimed at helping boost player numbers

Hillhead-Jordanhill centre Abbie Evans cuts through Watsonians defence during last year's Sarah Beaney Cup Final
Hillhead-Jordanhill centre Abbie Evans cuts through Watsonians defence during last year's Sarah Beaney Cup Final Image: © Craig Watson

THE season structure for women’s rugby in Scotland is being revamped from 2019 onwards, with three distinct sections for cup, sevens and league rugby being introduced in an effort to “enable clubs to attract bigger, more consistent squad sizes as the majority of inclement seasonal weather falls outwith the playing window”.

League fixtures will kick-off in August and run until the beginning of December; then, after a mid-winter break, Cup competitions will be played from March through to Cup Finals Day in April; while Sevens competitions keep their traditional place in the calendar in May and June.

“The aim is to make playing rugby as easy and stress-free as possible,” said Gemma Fay, Scottish Rugby’s Head of Women & Girls’ Rugby. “Better weather and considered timings for the season should make playing more attractive for a greater number of women, whatever level they are at.”

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The move follows consultation and a majority vote from all clubs that currently have a women’s section.

Regional high-performance matches are planned following the conclusion of the league section of the domestic season, with the aim of ensuring that women playing at the highest level and challenging for selection with national set-up continue to have regular training and game-time.

“Clubs and the national team should benefit from the new structure as game time becomes more regular,” added Fay. “The new structure not only works alongside the high-performance and international set-up but may even increase the number matches for some players during a time when, in the past, domestic fixtures have been cancelled.”

This coming domestic season will operate as a shortened transition season from August to November before commencing the new schedule in March 2019.

Teams in the Tennent’s National Leagues will play one fixture home or away against each other team in their league before it ‘splits’ based on standings. The sides grouped together then play each other once more home or away.

The Tennent’s Women’s North League will feature home and away fixtures between all sides.

Women’s Season 2019 onwards –

March – April: Cup competitions

May – June: Sevens competitions

June – August: Mid-season break

August – December: League competitions

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About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.