Sale Sharks have announced that they will be entering a women’s team in the Tyrells Premier 15s – the top domestic league in England – from 2020/21.
The club’s application was approved by England Rugby and will see the team compete in the league for three seasons.
In a statement, co-owner Michelle Orange said: “Since investing in Sale Sharks, Simon and I have realised that we are so much more than a club but a family.
“Given these unknown times, family has never been more key in our lives. The opportunity to establish Sale Sharks Women will complete our family unit and help us play our part in reinforcing the importance of sport for all, be it as a participant or spectator or supporter.
“We look forward to building our women’s team and seeing the resumption of play across all facets off rugby union,” she added.
The news comes off the back of local success at grassroots level as Sale FC’s 1861 team won the National Challenge 1 League this season and it is thought that Sale Sharks will continue to work with the club.
As well as forming the team itself, the club will also be investing resources into player development in the region by offering an elite Centre of Excellence. It is thought that this will encourage top players in the region to stay in the north-west rather than leaving to play elsewhere.
Tyrells Premier 15s from 2020/21: Bristol Bears Women, Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, Exeter Chiefs Women, Gloucester-Hartpury Women, Harlequins Women, Loughborough Lightning, Sale Sharks Women, Saracens Women, Wasps FC Ladies, Worcester Warriors Women
Image credit: Sale Sharks