England women's head coach Simon Middleton calls on Premier 15s sides to copy Harlequins to improve attendances
England women's rugby head coach Simon Middleton has said Premier 15s clubs should follow Harlequins' lead in order to increase attendances at games.
Quins set the Premier 15s attendance record of 4,837 in March when they hosted a 'Game Changer' event at The Stoop.
They also have the largest average crowd in the league which stands at 1,143.
Speaking about women's rugby crowds, Middleton said: “The domestic [level] needs some work. There aren’t massive crowds watching women’s rugby union by any stretch in the Tyrrells which is a shame, because it’s a good product.
“I think that needs a look at a little bit. There’s been some great examples of how you put bums on seats. Quins have been fantastic at how they’ve gone about some of the stuff they’ve done.
“They [Tyrrells clubs] need to have a look at how they can create events that people are going to want to come and watch. It’s tough, it’s a tough market, but it’s there to be cracked.
“Quins have taken a lead with it and maybe more clubs need to emulate them. It takes a lot of effort and application, but if you want to be successful, want the game to grow and want clubs to be part of a growing product, then you’ve got to put the effort in.”
Last year, the Red Roses welcomed 3,876 fans to watch their defeat to Canada at Castle Park in Doncaster.
Middleton is about to lead the Red Roses into a three-match autumn campaign which they will begin with a trip to France on Saturday, November 9.
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"Internationally-wise, I think we’re getting to grips with it (the crowds) now," Middleton added.
“I think moving the internationals around last year was useful, especially with the experience we had at Doncaster.”
France vs England kicks off at 1:10pm and is available to watch on Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports Arena.