Women's Super Rugby: Lichfield want RFU to rethink bid for spot in new competition
Lichfield want the Rugby Football Union to reconsider their failed bid to be part of the inaugural Women's Super Rugby competition.
The Staffordshire club are second in the Premiership - the top-flight of English rugby as it stands - and have been part of the league for 15 seasons.
Lichfield director of rugby Becky Williams said it was "devastating" to miss out on the new 10-team league.
When asked if she hoped for a rethink, Williams said: "We deserve it."
Speaking to BBC Midlands Today, Williams continued: "What we, as a club, have worked so hard to do for 25 years is to get to the required standard - which we meet."
Women's Super Rugby, into which there will be a multi-million pound investment by the RFU over the first three years, is aimed at improved playing standards and increasing participation in the game.
The only ones left out
Lichfield are the only Premiership side not to be included in the new Women's Super Rugby competition, as third-placed Aylesford will operate as Harlequins from 2017.
Centre Emily Scarratt, a World Cup winner and Team GB captain at the 2016 Rio Olympics, is among five Lichfield players involved in England's Six Nations campaign this season.
In a statement, Women's Premiership chair Mark Francis said "the competition will be weakened" by Lichfield's absence and also "welcome the RFU to reconsider the decision".
The RFU have said they are willing to work closely with the club and help "support future ambitions to compete in the new competition".
Applications for a spot in Super Rugby were based around coaching and training, sports science and medical support, training and playing environment, player pools, and financial streams.
There will be no promotion or relegation from the competition for the first two seasons, which starts in September.
Good for the game, bad for Lichfield
While Lichfield boss Williams is disappointed the club has been overlooked, she does stress the RFU's efforts to establish a better funded and resourced top-flight competition is "absolutely fantastic".
England and Lichfield prop Justine Lucas echoed the sentiment, adding: "For the bigger picture, the RFU investing so much money into women's rugby is absolutely fantastic.
"But it is a real blow for Lichfield. We have all worked so hard this year and put so much into our club rugby, Lichfield means a lot to everyone involved."