Lichfield Ladies are “surprised and extremely disappointed” after the Rugby Football Union made the decision to not incldue the club in the ten-team list for next season’s new Women’s Super Rugby league.
The Staffordshire club – who currently sit second in the Women’s Premiership and a point off leaders Bristol – had applied for one of the ten spots but failed in their attempts to secure a place in the new elite competition.
In a statement posted on their Facebook page, the club expained there was no obvious reason for their exclusion.
“We have made every effort to follow the application process and in doing so have confirmed that we can meet all the required standards,” they said. “We do not accept the scant reasons given as to why we have not been selected.
“On the contrary, we believe that we are one of very few clubs that can, as of today, already satisfy the necessary conditions regarding players, coaching and facilities.
“We presented what we believe was a sensible and achievable budget for delivering all of the specified support and facilities to provide the necessary players and performance improvements.”
Lichfield has been a breeding ground for numerous England internationals and Olympians, including current England stars Emily Scarratt, Amy Cokayne and Natasha Hunt.
But despite this, the club faces an uncertain future with the RFU unlikely to accept their professional internationals playing second-tier rugby next year.
However, despite being shocked by the whole affair, the club have insisted they will continue to build towards the future of women’s rugby in Staffordshire.
“Very few clubs can boast a tradition and pedigree as strong as this, yet it appears to have been completely disregarded in the selection process,” they said.
“For the good of the game we will continue to support the RFU and direct all our efforts and emotion into completing the 2016/17 season.
“We will continue to grow the game and develop players to reach their full potential and we shall continue to work closely with the RFU to prepare for the next opportunity to once again participate at the elite level.”