The Rugby Football Union have today announced that the new Premier 15s league is now entering the next stage in its tender process with the issue of the Request for Proposals (RFP) on Monday, September 5.
The RFP will be issued to all clubs who formally responded to the Expression of Interest, which closed on Friday 12th August 2022 and the deadline for the submission of responses to the RFP is 28th October 2022 at 1700.
Alex Teasdale, head of women’s game at the RFU commented: “This is a really exciting phase of development for the next cycle of the Premier 15s league. All clubs who responded to the formal Expression of Interest will now set out their approach for the next cycle of Premier 15s and provide further detail around how their club will deliver against the criteria as set out in the RFP and support the delivery of a progressive league both on and off the pitch.
“Within the RFP there is an option for those responding clubs to meet with the RFU during September and October to discuss the process and any queries they have regarding this stage. We are looking forward to receiving the responses to the RFP and progressing the development plans to ensure we deliver a robust platform and ensure the next cycle of the Premier 15s continues to grow the sport at every level.”
By 22nd November 2022 a Selection Panel, comprised of representatives of the RFU and sport specialists independent of clubs involved in the process, will evaluate all the responses to the RFP and subsequently create a shortlist of clubs. Those shortlisted clubs will then present their approach for the Premier 15s to the Selection Panel at agreed times between 28th November and 7th December.
Subject to any appeals, all shortlisted clubs will be notified of the Selection Panel’s decision on the inclusion of clubs in the next cycle of the Premier 15s by the end of December this year.
An announcement will be made in Spring 2023 celebrating the successful clubs who will compete in the Allianz Premier 15s from the 2023/24 season.
The timeline for the next stage of development is listed below:
5th September 2022: RFPs issued to interested clubs
September – October 2022: Opportunity for interested clubs to meet with RFU
1700 hours, 28th October 2022: Deadline for responses to RFP
By 22nd November 2022: Selection panel will have evaluated RFP responses and a shortlist of clubs created
Between 28th November and 7th December 2022: Shortlisted clubs to present responses to RFP to Selection Panel
End December 2022: All shortlisted clubs notified of Selection Panel results, subject to appeals
Spring 2023: Participation agreements issued to successful applicants
Leicester Tigers head coach, Dan McKellar said: “The group, players and staff were on the go for 23 weeks straight so getting away from the game for a period was really beneficial and we’ve come back in enthused for this challenge this week.
“Ealing are a team full of experience and quality, so we’ll have to be at our best to get the result we want, on a big day for the likes of Hanro and Finn.
“It’s fitting that Hanro leads us on his 100th game. He carried a lot of the leadership burden during the World Cup and continues to be someone the boys can count on to lead with his actions.”
Scott MacLeod is returning to Newcastle Falcons as line-out coach, with the former Scotland lock on board until at least the end of the season.
The Hawick native spent 11 years with the Falcons, making 61 appearances as a player before joining the coaching team in 2016.
Having departed Kingston Park last summer MacLeod will now return to impart his expertise, combining coaching commitments with working for his family’s business in the Scottish Borders.
Newcastle Falcons’ consultant director of rugby Steve Diamond said: “Scott is a well-respected line-out specialist who can help us make some big gains in that area between now and the end of the season.
“He knows and loves the club, he’s very well regarded here and I’m looking forward to getting him back involved.
“We’ve initially said it’s until the end of the season and I know Scott has other business commitments, but if it works well for both parties over the next few months then we’ll be happy to look at extending it beyond that.”
Capped 24 times by Scotland in a playing career which also saw him starring for Border Reivers, Edinburgh, Scarlets, Kobelco Steelers and Newcastle, the set-piece specialist is relishing the prospect of reinvigorating the Falcons’ line-out during the remainder of the season.
MacLeod said: “Our line-out has consistently been in the top four of the Premiership over the past few years, so hopefully I can come in and help get us back up there.
“I’ve been watching the games from afar this season because Newcastle Falcons is still a big part of my life, even though I’ve not been personally involved since the summer. I just want to come in and make a positive difference, get us back to where we should be and help the boys.”
Having spent more than a decade at Kingston Park as a player and coach, MacLeod insisted the opportunity to return was just too good to pass up.
“I’ve missed the place a lot,” said the 44-year-old.
“I’m now working for my family’s business, MacLeod Glass, up in Hawick, but I’m sure any sportsperson will tell you they miss being in and around that team environment. It’s certainly very different going from a Premiership rugby club to working in a factory every day, and it’s been a shock to the system.
“I’ll now get to combine both, and I’ve missed being involved with the professional game. I’ve been coaching my son’s S2 side to get my rugby fix, but I’m buzzing to be back with the Falcons. It’s a really special club for me.”
Setting out with one clear aim, the Scot said: “I just want us to get our identity back.
“I’ll come in, assess our strengths and our weaknesses and come up with a plan accordingly. I know some of the players really well and I don’t know others at all, but luckily with us having this big break before our next game it’s absolutely ideal timing for getting things in place.
“One thing you have to bear in mind with Newcastle is how bad the weather is, in terms of how much you can push it in the line-out, but I just want to get the confidence back into the boys.
“It’s about simple things being done well on a consistent basis, and I’m starting this week to help put it in motion.
“I’ve got a few weeks to get to know the guys I’ve not worked with before, see how it all ties in with the lads I already know and then knit it all together into a game plan which works best for the team.
“As I say, I just want us to have that Newcastle Falcons identity again when it comes to the line-out, and I’m really positive about things. We’ll see how it works between now and the end of the season, and if everyone’s happy then we can see where it goes.”
Newcastle Falcons’ next home game is against Leicester Tigers on Good Friday (March 29), with tickets on sale for the 7.45pm kick-off by clicking here.