England Women: RFU awards 15-a-side deals for first time
England will award professional player contracts to their 15-a-side women's team for the first time next season.
The sevens squad have been recipients of full-time contracts since 2014, but now the Rugby Football Union (RFU) will make 16 players full-time.
There will be another 32 short-term contracts on offer as the RFU continues its "ongoing commitment to the professionalisation of women's rugby".
England became world champions for the second time in 2014.
RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie said: "We are immensely proud of England Women's achievements and we want to provide the best support to continue this success."
The England Women elite performance squad of contracted players will be announced in September. The full-time contracts will come into effect from then, with training based at Bisham Abbey, the current home of the GB women's sevens squad.
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