Rugby Football League study aims to 'improve standards' in womens' game

Castleford v Leeds
Castleford and Leeds contested both of last season's major domestic finals, with the Rhinos victorious in both

The Rugby Football League hopes to improve women's conditioning and coaching using data from a season of Women's Super League player testing.

In tandem with Leeds Beckett University, every WSL player will be routinely assessed, having given initial test readings in February.

Fitness, injury surveillance and match data will all be reviewed.

The start of the 2020 season was suspended in accordance with government coronavirus regulations.

The RFL had also put in place regular training camps for England performance squad players before the lockdown, and scheduled regular 'Origin' games between Lancashire and Yorkshire squads to give players more competitive game time.

"The data sets collected will provide information on the physical profile of female rugby league players and how they change over a season," said Professor Ben Jones, Professor of Sports Physiology and Performance at Leeds Beckett University.

"This will provide information to support coaches on how to train the female athlete and, in turn, drive forward performance and standards.

"We are hopeful that its outcomes will not only improve standards at elite level but, over time, have positive impacts at all levels, including grassroots, and encourage wider participation.

"The fitness testing scores will allow players and coaches to identify strengths and weaknesses, not only in comparison to team-mates, but also to other players across the league. This will create more competition and more world-class players."

The league has been expanded in 2020 with the introduction of Warrington and Huddersfield to the top tier.

There is also a change in structure, with the league of 10 to split into two groups of five after nine games.

It is hoped to ensure more competitive fixtures for the top-end clubs and allow the newer clubs to develop against more balanced opposition, without losing the integrity of competition.

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