York Valkyrie will face Barrow Raiders Ladies, plus developing sides Hull FC and Workington Town.
Last year, the individual brilliance of England international Tara Jane Stanley proved the difference when her York side clinched a 7-0 final victory over Leeds Rhinos to be crowned the first ever Women’s Nines champions.
This year’s competition will once again see all 12 Betfred Women’s Super League sides taking part, alongside ‘invitation’ teams including Leamington Royals, Cardiff Demons, Newcastle Thunder, London Broncos and Workington Town.
Teams have been drawn into five groups with the top team from each – plus one wildcard – making it through to Finals Day at Salford’s AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday June 24.
Title holders York Valkyrie will face Betfred Women’s Super League Two opposition in Barrow Raiders, plus developing sides Hull FC and Workington Town, with 2022 runner up Leeds Rhinos set for a West Yorkshire derby against Bradford Bulls, as well as matches against Salford Red Devils and Cardiff Devils.
Elsewhere, and in another sign of the growth being made in women’s Rugby League, the Midlands will be represented for the first time by Leamington Royals who have been drawn against Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves and a final team to be confirmed following the late withdrawal of last year’s finalists Catalan Dragons.
Current Challenge Cup holders St Helens face Featherstone Rovers, Hull KR and Newcastle Thunder and Wigan Warriors, Leigh Leopards, Castleford Tigers, and London Broncos complete the group stage fixtures.
Play will run from 10.30am to 4pm with entry on the day free and much like last year’s event, the occasion will have a festival feel, including educational workshops focusing on the women’s game.
RFL Head of Development, Tom Brindle, explains:
“We’re really excited to bring the Women’s Nines back to Victoria Park this year. Nines is an exciting spectacle, and we’ll see lots of fantastic players showcasing their skills at both Warrington and Salford.
"We found that the festival approach last year was really successful so we will be replicating this at the event on May 14 and anyone is welcome to come and enjoy the day. There will be lots of fun activities available as well as some quality Rugby League, so it should be a great day.
“Throughout the event, we’ll also be hosting workshops that cover different aspects of the game and, we are pleased to announce that England Women Assistant Coach, Derek Hardman, will be leading one of these sessions and will be sharing invaluable insight into what life as a Rugby League coach is like.
“The workshops were really popular last year so I would encourage people to get signed up now to avoid disappointment.”
Nines Rugby League matches are played over two nine-minute halves, with five points for a try scored in the bonus zone under the posts and two for a drop-kicked conversion attempt. Squads will consist of up to 15 players, with unlimited interchanges allowed from the six-strong bench.
Entry to the event on May 14 is free, and anyone wishing to attend the Women & Girls coaching workshop is advised to sign up here .
Groups are as follows:
Salford Red Devils