WORCESTER Valkyries will be joining the new Women's Super Rugby competition next season.

Valkyries are among 10 clubs offered places in the inaugural competition which the RFU hopes will raise the standards of women’s rugby domestically.

But Worcester will be without ex-Scotland women’s ace Donna Kennedy who is stepping down as the director of rugby at the end of this term.

Valkyries chairman Karen Jones: "We are at a very exciting time for women's rugby and the new Super Rugby competition will help to take the sport to the next level and give it greater recognition.

"Valkyries have ambitions to become the leading club side in women's rugby and we are excited to be able to provide a genuine pathway for the most talented players in the country to progress in the game.”

The new competition will receive a multi-million pound investment from the RFU over the next three years to help deliver the minimum standards expected and provide high-quality coaching, facilities, training environments and community engagement plans.

Valkyries, who play their home matches at Sixways, will play 18 league matches against teams from all across the country.

Worcester, Bristol Ladies, Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, Firwood Waterloo Ladies, Harlequin, Gloucester-Hartpury Women's, Loughborough Students (Lightning), Richmond, Saracens and Wasps have been offered a place in the league after an independently-chaired application process.

Valkyries remain the only side outside of London to win the Women's Premiership after they claimed the title in 2013.

The Worcester side have around 20 current internationals and boast some of the best facilities of any women's rugby team in the country.

Valkyries will be working with the University of Worcester to provide aspiring international players with scholarships.

Warriors chief executive Jim O'Toole said: "Women's rugby has grown rapidly in recent years and the structure of the new league will ensure the sport continues to go from strength to strength.

"We have learned a great deal in our first season of integrating the Valkyries into the Warriors organisation.

"We plan to apply those lessons as we prepare for the first season of the new competition with the goal of making the Valkyries a competitive force in the new world of top-class women's rugby.”

Valkyries will be hosting open trials in the summer ahead of pre-season training.

For more details about the director of rugby role, trials or scholarships, e-mail: valkyries@warriors.co.uk