Super W teams have reported surging interest in their squad trials as the five-team, five-round competition gears up for its second year.
Off the back of 2018's epic golden-point clash between Queensland and ultimate premiers NSW, Queensland and Western Australia reported a 200 per cent spike in trialists, while Melbourne reported a 150 per cent rise and the Brumbies a 20 per cent increase, a Rugby Australia spokesman said.
History: Ash Hewson holds the trophy aloft as NSW players celebrate their Super W title.Credit:Stuart Walmsley/ARU
The numbers have come straight through to the Super W squads in the smaller states, with the Rebels women selecting 14 new players, or about half their squad, from the first-time trialists this year.
That's on the back of a 20 per cent rise in club XVs women players last year, many of whom must have watched veteran NSW captain and Wallaroo Ash Hewson kick NSW into the history books with a penalty goal in extra time of golden point at Allianz Stadium last year.
It bodes well for the overall quality of the competition and the Wallaroos stocks, and will be a well-timed boost ahead of an expected schedule of three Tests this year, including a Bledisloe Cup double-header in Perth in August.
In another development, Kayo Sports streaming service will show all games live when the season kicks off with a Brumbies vs NSW clash ahead of the Brumbies vs Chiefs match at GIO Stadium in Canberra on February 23. Fox Sports has committed to playing back all the double-headers.
The inaugural season final was contested by Queensland and NSW at Allianz Stadium last year. Credit:Stuart Walmsley
There will also be an extra round in 2019, with a 2nd and 3rd place playoff match added on the weekend of March 30/31. The winner will play the minor premiers the following weekend, April 6/7.
"The hype of last year’s competition has brought forward a new era for women’s rugby in Australia, and we've seen a 20 per cent increase in female XVs participation since Super W last year," Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle said.
"That growth is part of the reason that all the clubs are taking matches back to their grassroots, to continue to promote the game and inspire our next generation of Buildcorp Wallaroos.
"The competition gives our players top level game time, week-in, week-out which will hold them in the best possible stead for an action-packed international calendar in 2019."
2019 Buildcorp Super W Draw (all times local)
Brumbies Women v NSW Women*, Saturday 23 February, 5.00pm, GIO Stadium, Canberra
Melbourne Rebels Women v Queensland Women, Sunday 24 February, 3.00pm, Box Hill RFC, Melbourne
Queensland Women v RugbyWA Women*, Saturday 2 March, 4.00pm, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Brumbies Women v Melbourne Rebels Women, Sunday 3 March, 3.00pm, Seiffert Oval, Queanbeyan
Melbourne Rebels Women v RugbyWA Women*, Friday 8 March, 5.00pm, AAMI Park, Melbourne
NSW Women v Queensland Women, Sunday 10 March, 3.00pm, Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
Queensland Women v Brumbies Women, Saturday 16 March, 5.00pm, Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane
RugbyWA Women v NSW Women, Sunday 17 March, 3.30pm, Curtin University, Perth
RugbyWA Women v Brumbies Women, Sunday 24 March, 2.00pm, Wanneroo Rugby Club, WA
NSW Women v Melbourne Rebels Women, Sunday 24 March, 3.00pm, Anne Ashwood Park, Bathurst
*Denotes double header
Source: Read Full Article