ANDY MOULSDALE is one of a number of chiefs who believe their clubs were incorrectly graded in the sport’s shake-up.

North Wales Crusaders ranked rock-bottom of the 35-strong list of senior clubs which will be used to determine the make-up of the top-flight from the 2025 season onwards, scoring just 5.07 points from a possible 25.

“For what we’ve given back to the sport, I don’t think it’s a fair reflection,” said the Cru’s chief executive.

“We reached the final last season and finished third in the two years previously. We’ve also set up a foundation that runs a women’s and three wheelchair teams.”

But he conceded: “The IMG gradings make you take a step back and realise it’s not all about what happens on the pitch any more. Whether you agree with it or not, that’s the way it is, and we just have to try to improve in any way we can.”

Super League arrived in Wales in 2009 when Celtic Crusaders, effectively the existing club’s previous incarnation, were granted a top-flight licence and lasted three seasons – the latter two as simply Crusaders – before falling into financial problems and failing to re-apply for a licence in 2012.

North Wales have since made quiet progress at the third-tier level, but the stark reality of elevating teams from expansion areas has been made plain by the rankings, which were ostensibly set up, at least in part, to encourage just that.

London Broncos languish in 24th place and face the prospect of a single top-flight campaign irrespective of their on-pitch performances next season, while Midlands Hurricanes and Cornwall occupy the two places immediately above North Wales.

“There’s no doubt it makes things more difficult for us,” added Moulsdale. “The scoring is inevitably weighted towards Super League clubs, because finances and fandom are obviously going to be bigger if you’re in the top division.

“We’ve lost the likes of West Wales and London Skolars in recent seasons, and unless you have someone who can come straight in and invest a lot of money, the prospects (for expansion teams) are extremely tough.”

Wales Women were made to pay for a series of first-half errors as they were beaten 14-4 by France in Carcassonne.

It was the first time the sides had met in an international Test and boss Thomas Brindle handed six players their debuts.

Bethan Dainton captained a side that, despite some brave defending, succumbed to pressure from the French and allowed Laureane Biville to open the scoring after 12 minutes.

Dorine Samara added another try for the hosts before half-time, with Mahault Pommier converting, while France winger Perle Ramazeilles touched down in the corner after the break.

Wales were determined not to let their opponents escape with a clean sheet, however, as Georgia Taylor crossed for a 77th-minute try.