Premier 15s: Katy Daley-Mclean hopes pay cap will improve competition

Katy Daley-Mclean (left), then of Loughborough Lightning, tries to tackle Rachael Burford of Harlequins Ladies

England’s World Cup-winning captain Katy Daley-Mclean hopes a new £60,000 remuneration cap will stop the same two teams dominating the Premier 15s.

Harlequins and Saracens have led the league since it began in 2017, with the majority of England’s contracted women’s players playing for the two.

Now clubs must keep to a cap of £60,000 per squad and that includes match fees, accommodation and benefits like cars.

“It’s about making sure there’s spread at the clubs,” she told the BBC.

“What you don’t want is two dominant teams with 15 internationals in their 23,” she told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Rugby Union Weekly.

It is understood the Premier 15s’ 10 clubs will not be held to the cap in the 2020-21 season but will have to fall within its limit by 2021-22, although this will all be dependent on when sport is allowed to resume following the coronavirus pandemic.

Saracens won the first two Premier 15s titles and were on course to win for a third time before the Rugby Football Union declared the Premier 15s season “null and void” because of coronavirus.

Daley-Mclean, who has 114 England caps and captained the side to victory at the 2014 World Cup, announced she was joining Premier 15s newcomers Sale Sharks as a player-coach in April.

Earlier that month, Sale and Exeter Chiefs had been given a place in the league from next season, replacing Richmond and Firwood Waterloo.

The 34-year-old fly-half hopes women’s rugby can continue to progress as the coronavirus crisis threatens the sport’s financial future.

It has been suggested that the Women’s Six Nations takes place at a different time of year to the men’s, which is usually in February and March.

Women’s matches often overlapped in the 2020 tournament, with the three opening-round games kicking off within half an hour of each other.

“How does that grow our sport?” Daley-Mclean said of the scheduling.

“It’s about giving people the opportunity to go and see both (men and women) and have the choice.”

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