Future Competitions Structure

Please see below the letter that has been sent out to all Lancashire Clubs

To all Lancashire Clubs

The RFU Future Competitions Structure (FCS) Group has published its proposed Plan and recommendations for the restructuring of the Adult Male community game. Attached are a set of documents detailing these plans.

PLEASE NOTE: These populated plans have been based on the league positions of 30th March 2020 and are for illustrative structure purposes only. The actual leagues proposed to start in September 2022 will be based on the final league positions at the end of season 2021-2022.

RFU Document 1.

This document shows the structure of Level 3 to Level 6 and the effect of lowering the number of clubs in each league.

            Level 3 = 14 Teams

Level 4 = 14 Teams

Level 5 = 12 Teams

Level 6 = 12 Teams

As there is an increased number of leagues there will promotion of 4 clubs from Level 7 to Level 6 in the first season.

RFU Document 2.

This document details Levels 7 and below and in the North West Lancashire County RFU believe there are 3 options offered as alternatives, below is our summary of those options.

Option 1 – Development based on current entries.

The remaining SEVEN Clubs not promoted at the end of the 2021/22 Season in ECC North 2 West will be placed in a League with the highest placed Cumbrian Clubs that have not been promoted by right or artificially promoted at the end of Season 2021/22. These 10 Clubs will be joined by either 2 further Cumbrian Clubs being promoted from the Cumbria Division or by two 2nd XVs if the inclusion of Lower XVs entry to the ECC has been ratified. Currently on the FCS Review only one Level 8 League feeds into this League and its Cumbrian Club based with at least 1 or more lower XVs. It has to be assumed that any Lancashire Club finishing bottom of North 2 West in 22/23 will be relegated into this League.

Furthermore, it is entirely possible that a whole League of Lower XVs could make up a North West based Level 8 League that runs in parallel with the Level 8 Cumbria League.

  • ·Vagabonds (IOM) & Ramsey (IOM) may also be included dependent on Levels.

Option 2 – Lower XV Entry.

The remaining SEVEN Clubs not promoted at the end of the 2021/22 Season in ECC North 2 West will be placed in a League which will consist of the highest placed 2nd XVs as judged on entry criteria.  The example of 2nd XVs shown may not be consistent with those 2nd XVs eventually placed in this League. If possible, a fully populated Level 8 League consisting of other 2nd  XVs will feed into this League. This will mean as no 2nd XV can be promoted to Level 6 (2nd XVs can currently go no higher than Level 7) that at least five 2nd XVs will always remain in this league unless a Club gets relegated to Level 8 and is promoted in a subsequent season replacing a 2nd XV in a relegation spot. It is not clear what would happen if all five 2nd XVs finished in the top spots, this could lead to a Club placed 6th being promoted to Level 6. One other noteworthy item is that if a Club’s 2nd XV is in a Level 7 League and its 1st XV get relegated into that League the 2nd XV will be automatically relegated irrespective if they finished the same season top of the L7 League.

  • ·Vagabonds (IOM) & Ramsey (IOM) may also be included dependent on Levels.

Option 3 – adm Clubs re-integration.

The remaining SEVEN Clubs not promoted at the end of the 2021/22 Season in NCC North 2 West will be placed in a League which will consist of the top five placed Clubs from the adm Premier Division at the end of 2021/22 Season. The rest of the adm Clubs will be placed in the leagues below based on their finishing positions in the adm Premier Division, adm Championship and adm 1st Division. Additionally, Vagabonds (IOM) and Ramsey (IOM) could be integrated into this structure at the correct level.

Lancashire Document 3.

This is an illustration of how the 3 options look based on the finishing positions as of 30th March 2020 and is again only for illustrative purposes, this will actually be based on the league finishing positions at the end of season 2021-2022.

Points to consider.

Option 1 and Option 2 could lead to the dissolution of the North West Intermediate Leagues (NOWIRUL) if a significant number of 2nd XVs leave to join the NCC. Whilst it may be possible to produce a League structure with the remaining lower XVs it will not be in the current well organised diverse structure that NOWIRUL prides itself on.

Lower XV entry is currently a deal breaker for adm Clubs, currently 100% of clubs who have responded to this one question do NOT want to join a League system with 2nd XVs in it. The adm Leagues can function without re-integration and will look to work with NOWIRUL to provide the best competitive environment for lower XVs playing in NOWIRUL and the Combination Leagues in the future.

Both IOM Clubs will remain isolated with Option 1 and Option 2. Option 1 does not offer the required playing level unless both Clubs travel to Cumbria and vice versa. Option 2 provides a very challenging set of opponents if the IOM Clubs participate. Option 3 allows them entry at the relevant level. Any inclusion of the IOM Clubs begs the question of travel funding to be made available as some Clubs will struggle to finance an off-shore visit costing somewhere in the region of £2.5K

Reducing League sizes is meant to be an answer to reducing the load on players from a welfare point of view be reducing 26 League games down to 22 allowing for more rest/recovery days. This seems to contradict including 3 or 4 Group cup games at the end of the League season followed by additional knockout rounds even if you can opt-out. The wording of playing the final at a “prestigious ground” is a bit ambiguous, most if not all Cup finalists would agree the day win or lose was a special one because the final was held at Twickenham. Playing a cup final at the Stoop, Sixways or Birmingham Moseley with all due respect to those three venues does not quite invoke the same feelings. Would the Lower XVs be allowed to enter? It would have to be assumed that answer is yes and therefore you could have a national Level 7 Cup Final featuring 2nd XVs from National League Clubs.

RFU Document 4.

This document covers the proposed voluntary national cup competition to supplement the loss of games due to the lowering of the number of teams in each level of the league structure

Please email for a copy.


RFU Document 5.

This is the draft criteria on the acceptance of Lower XVs in to the league structure.

Additional Notes.

We are unsure as yet if the RFU Council will be asked to vote on a single resolution to cover acceptance or refusal of the proposal as a whole, or as may be more likely, it will be broken down into several resolutions. Once we have the details of the exact resolutions they will be forwarded to you.



Mark Downs                                                                                    


RFU Document 1 FCS Levels 3 - 6 Regional Models 30.3.21

RFU Document 2 FCS Level 7 and below CB Based Models 30.3.21

Lancashire RFU Document 3 CB FCS Options Level 4 and below

RFU Document 5 Draft FCS Lower XVs Criteria            




Cat: News