From six to seven teams for 2023-24, as the Women’s National League welcomes a new member to the top division of university women’s rugby, in the form of Cardiff University. A new era beckons…

Three out of the last four Women’s National League trophies (league and championship) have gone the way of the team known as none other than Hartpury. The reigning league and championships winners, under the guidance of a champion of England herself Mo Hunt, are starting to build what some would call a dynasty. Can anyone stop them? Well, first game of the season they welcome Exeter in a rematch of last season’s final - will Exeter turn the tide? 

Two teams beginning with the letter ‘E’, but that’s as close as Exeter and Edinburgh can get being a mere 445 miles away from each other. The Devonshire side make that gruelling trip in the first of three November fixtures, before Edinburgh return the favour in the penultimate round of the season. Based off the last few seasons the West Country warriors and the stylish Scots have got to be favourites to chase down Hartpury, but as we know in university rugby, anything can happen. 

Loughborough and Durham, African Violet and Palatinate. Two institutions synonymous with the top end of university rugby union, let along the whole of higher education sport. Fifth and sixth respectively in the league last season, both will be hoping to bounce back quickly. The 2021-22 league champions Durham make their way across the border to Peffermill to start their campaign. A week later purple will rain down on the East Midlands when Loughborough face Durham. (Don’t worry one team will be wearing a different coloured kit). 

For the first time in the Women’s National League, we have not only two Welsh teams but they both reside in the capital. That’s right, get ready for two double headers of the Cardiff Clash at Cardiff Arms Park in October and December. The Archers made great inroads in 2022-23 and with their city rivals keen to show they belong in the top flight, it should make for a thrilling time if you’re a fan of Cardiff or Cardiff Met. 

As all eyes turn to a vital part of the Women’s National League’s short but classy history. Teams will playing this season over a longer period than ever before, who will have the metal to be at the very best each time they run out onto the pitch? For now, this will remain unanswered but let’s look forward to another thrilling season ahead. 

The full list of fixtures for the upcoming season can be found on  BUCS Play

Share this: