A restructured Super W season has been announced with fixtures and locations confirmed after months of delays, with the tournament to be played across three weeks and three locations.
Despite the success of the home-and-away round robin tournament that had been played since 2018, Rugby Australia has rejigged the competition due to the delayed 2020 Olympics with the competition to be played across three rounds and a final with six teams to be split into two pools.
Featuring the five established Super Rugby franchises in the NSW Waratahs, Queensland Reds, Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels and Western Force, a sixth side, the President's XV, will join the competition and will feature players from NSW and Queensland.
The competition will be played in Brisbane, Queanbeyan and Coffs Harbour NSW. The first round will be split across Queanbeyan and Brisbane on Saturday 19 June and Thursday 24 June, before all teams relocate to Coffs Harbour for the remaining pool matches on Sunday 27 June and the final on Wednesday 30 June. The tournament structure has been developed to reduce as much interstate travel as possible in case of any COVID-19 border closures.
Pool A will feature Queensland Reds, Western Force and Brumbies, while Pool B features the President's XV, Melbourne Rebels and NSW Waratahs. Each team will play three fixtures against the opponents outside of their pool ahead of a final.
RA CEO Andy Marinos said the restructured tournament would continue to help players establish themselves at national level and can help players prepare for the Olympics and next year's Rugby World Cup.
"The Super W competition is a major tournament for female athletes to establish themselves at the national level before competing for higher honours," Marinos said. "It's incredibly important for junior players to see their heroes and mentors compete in the flesh, to inspire the next generation.
"In full consultation with the teams, we made a decision to alter the format and dates of the competition for this year. The changes are mainly due to the unique nature of the season, with a need to help prepare our national teams for the Olympic Games and Rugby World Cup 2021.
"We were also very conscious of the COVID-19 environment and the format deliberately reduces interstate travel.
In a boost for the female game, all three rounds and the final will be played live on Stan Sport.
2021 Buildcorp Super W draw (all times local)
Queensland Reds v NSW Waratahs, Saturday 19 June, kick off 1:30pm, Easts Rugby Club, Brisbane
Brumbies v Melbourne Rebels, Saturday 19 June, kick off 3:00pm, Seiffert Oval, Queanbeyan
Western Force v President's XV, Thursday 24 June, 2:00pm, C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
Brumbies v President's XV, Sunday 27 June, 11:00am, C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
Melbourne Rebels v Queensland Reds, Sunday 27 June, 1:00pm, C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
NSW Waratahs v Western Force, Sunday 27 June, 3:00pm, C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
Western Force v Melbourne Rebels, Wednesday 30 June, 11:00am, C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
Queensland Reds v President's XV, Wednesday 30 June, 1:00pm, C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
NSW Waratahs v Brumbies, Wednesday 30 June, 3:00pm, C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
3 Pool A v 3 Pool B, Saturday 3 July, 9:00am, C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
2 Pool A v 2 Pool B, Saturday 3 July, 11:00am, C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
1 Pool A v 1 Pool B, Saturday 3 July, 1:00pm, C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour