Two-time Tyrrells Premier 15s champions Saracens Women will get the chance to add to their tally across the next three seasons, after the RFU confirmed their place in the competition at least until the end of the 2022/23 campaign.

Alex Austerberry’s side were well on the way to their third successive title this season until the coronavirus outbreak led to a suspension of play, and subsequently the 2019/20 TP15s season being declared null and void.

But, having gone unbeaten across 24 games in both the TP15s and Development League, Saracens will be confident of retaining the highly-coveted domestic crown when the 2020/21 season commences, and establishing their dominance going forward.

Sarries were granted their place after being named among the six top-ranked teams in an independently verified audit that took place in the first half of 2019/20, where each current TP15s club was assessed on a combination of their ability to deliver the competition’s minimum operating standards and their on-pitch performance.

Alongside Bristol Bears Women, Gloucester-Hartpury Women, Harlequins Women, Loughborough Lightning and Wasps FC Ladies, Saracens were invited to join the next three-year league structure, while the bottom four ranked teams, along with all RFU member clubs, universities and colleges, were invited to apply for one of the remaining spots.

After a selection panel reviewed and shortlisted all tender applications and interviews took place via conference call, DMP Durham Sharks, Exeter Chiefs Women, Sale Sharks Women and Worcester Warriors Women were named as the successful quartet.

Nicky Ponsford, RFU Head of Women’s Performance, said: “We said from the outset that this process allows us to recognise the input of current clubs but still open up the league to potential new entrants with a geographical spread maintained where possible and that’s reflected in the results.

“We’re looking forward to working with those clubs who have been with us since the league launched in 2017 as well as welcome Exeter and Sale, both of whom have exciting plans which will undoubtedly add quality to the division both on and off the field.”

While Sarries had enjoyed success in the Development League during 2019/20, the RFU also announced that the competition will no longer take place, effective from next season.

TP15s clubs wishing to run a development team in 2020/21 are currently in discussions with the RFU regarding the most appropriate options available.