WOMENS RUGBY: SARACENS and Richmond Borough are believed to be behind the decision not to allow Thurrock Ladies rugby team to be promoted to rugby’s top flight.

The two Premier Division clubs have been named by several rugby scources as the teams which are petitioning to block the T-Birds from taking their place in the country’s top womens’ rugby division after winning their league hands down. Thurrock’s director of rugby Dean White said he did not have any official reason from the RFU, but said that the Thurrock Ladies side was still petitioning to be let in. And he said that Essex RFU representative Ivor Smith said that the “battle lines had been drawn.”

White said: “It’s known that several of the top clubs feel that if the Premier League goes up from eight to ten because we are promoted then some of their players will come down here and play for Thurrock. “I think that some teams are scared of losing players to us. But you’ve got to ask: just who is running the league. The RFU or the clubs? “We are putting in a revised case and we cannot think of any real reason why the T-Birds should not be in the top flight.

“Ivor Smith has been back to the RFU again and says that the battle lines have been drawn. I have asked why they won’t let the T-Birds in, but they have not come back with any reason as far as I can see.

“But they know that we’re going to keep pushing. We queried this no promotion idea at the end of last season and cannot see why it’s got anything to do with the World Cup.”