The Betfred Women's Super League (BWSL) is to bring forward its scheduled mid-season break, before returning as planned with a two-tier competition format from Sunday 8 August.
Clubs have unanimously agreed with the RFL to cancel this weekend's final round of phase one fixtures, allowing squads an immediate 'circuit-break' from the challenges presented by positive Covid-19 tests, self-isolations and injuries.
On resumption the top five teams – Leeds Rhinos, St Helens, Wigan Warriors, York City Knights and Castleford Tigers – will begin their quest for a place in the BWSL Grand Final. Featherstone Rovers, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, Bradford Bulls and Wakefield Trinity will contest the Super League Shield, with both finals scheduled for Sunday 10 October at the Emerald Headingley Stadium in Leeds.
Fixtures, including details of midweek games and broadcast and streaming arrangements, will be announced in due course. England training sessions and reserve weekends for any postponements will be accommodated within the schedule.
RFL Director of Participation and Development, Marc Lovering, explains: "It's been wonderful to have Women's Rugby League back in 2021 after losing virtually the entire season last year, but the wider public health situation continues to challenge all of us. At times like this we have to be agile, and I'm grateful to all the clubs for recognising the challenges and being flexible enough to adapt. They have shown admirable commitment throughout the season under enormous pressures at times.
"Together we all recognise that it was becoming increasingly difficult to reschedule postponed games, to guarantee the strongest possible squads reaching the finals at Headingley and to give England the best possible chance in the World Cup. This decision puts us in a much better place."
The Betfred Women's Super League was expanded this year to become a 10-club competition, with Huddersfield Giants and Warrington Wolves joining the eight teams who competed in 2019. A four team/six team midway split was originally envisaged, however all clubs are agreed that a five-five split is now more appropriate.
The Betfred Women's Super League South continues as scheduled.#WeAreYork⚔️ Picture courtesy of Andy Nelson