Final Premier 15s: England-qualified players will be the focus of future seasons

Exeter women's team
Exeter has reached the Premier 15s final by recruiting international players. This was only their second season.
Venue: Sixways Stadium in Worcester Date: Friday, June 3 Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Coverage: You can watch BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport and BBC Sport app. Live text commentary is available on BBC Sport app and website.

Rugby Football Union has stated that the next cycle of Premier 15s will “focus” on England-qualified players.

Exeter will field a team of mostly foreign internationals against Saracens at Friday's Premier15s final at Sixways.

Current requirements for sides are that they have at least 16 England-qualified players within a matchday team.

Clubs who fail to do so miss out on £7,500 in additional RFU funding.

The Premier 15s season has one more season, and the RFU is still working out the criteria to include clubs in the 2023-24.

RFU stated that: “Like all operating standards and regulations, these are constantly under review and reviewed on a season by season basis. [England-qualified players] This will be the focus of the next cycle.”

Because of their relative weakness in domestic leagues, the majority non-English Premier15s players are Welsh or Scottish nationals. Furthermore, the number of players from all over the world has increased by twofold since last season.

“Every club is made up internationals” – Appleby

Exeter was built a highly successful squad In less than two years.

Susie Appleby, head coach, used her connections in the global game to lure some of the top names to West Country, including Patricia Garcia and Kate Zachary (United States).

Appleby says, “My directive was from Tony Rowe, Exeter chairman,”

“I did have many conversations with English-contract players, but nobody was willing to move.

“Yes, there are some players from overseas, but Sarries has many English players. What's the difference?”

“They also had Welsh, we have Welsh. Every top club in this league is comprised of different international players.”

“No reason to throw mud on Exeter” – Austerberry

In contrast, the Saracens and the 2021 Premier 15s Champions Harlequins have enjoyed a duopoly in the top England talent since the league was founded.

Red Roses MarliePacker, PoppyCleall, and Zoe Harrison have all helped Sarries to five finals in a row and three trophies.

England are the favorites to win October's World Cup, and they are at the top of the global rankings. This success Saracens coach Alex Austerberry attributes the league's strength.

“We've got the world-leading league, and the world-leading Red Roses teams, so we need to protect and promote them at all times,” he stated.

“I don’t see any reason to throw mud at Exeter’s program, it’s different from ours, fair credit.

“It got them to the final and they deserve to be there.”

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