Apr 28, 2018
FINALS PREVIEW: SARACENS WOMEN VS HARLEQUINS LADIES
Saracens Women have the opportunity to lift the inaugural Tyrrells Premier 15s trophy as they take on Harlequins Ladies on Sunday.
Rob Cain has made one change to the starting squad that ran out as winners against Gloucester-Hartpury in the semi finals with Kat Evans back in at hooker. Top try scorers Marlie Packer, Bryony Poppy Cleall link up in the back row. Lotte Clapp captains from the wing and the league top points scorer Helena Rowland starts in the midfield.
Ella Wyrwas moves into the match day squad and is named amongst the replacements as Emma Swords is ruled out through injury.
Harlequins captain, and Red Roses centre, Rachel Burford will lead the side with fellow England internationals Vickii Cornbrough, Abbie Scott, Shaunagh Brown, Leanne Riley and Fiona Pocock also in the starting XV.
Jess Breach, who recently featured for England Women Sevens, is named on the bench and will look to add to her 16 tries scored during the campaign.
Head to Head
The first meeting between Saracens and Harlequins, the top two in the league, came in the ninth round and Sarries emerged victorious at the Twickenham Stoop 28-19. Flanker Marlie Packer bagging a hat trick to take Sarries to the top of the table where they would sit for the remainder of the campaign.
The sides met again in the final round of games and this time Quins enjoyed the spoils, securing a 32-29 win in a nailbiting encounter at Allianz Park to inflict only the second defeat of the season for Sarries.
Saracens finished with the most try bonus points (15 in 18 games) compared to Quins with 14, and also the highest points difference of +455. They scored 125 tries over the campaign with 72 of those coming from their forwards, 44 from backs, seven from the replacements and two penalty tries - an average of over six tries scored in a game. It was not just try scoring where Saracens excelled, they had the best defensive record in the league conceding just 193 points, including five shut outs where they opposition did not score a point.
Harlequins have scored 721 points so far this season which includes 122 tries - 59 tries by backs, 46 by forwards, 12 by replacements and five penalty tries - averaging just over six tries in every game they have played in.
Rob Cain told Saracens.com: “It’s great to have the final almost upon us. The play offs did their job and the two top teams have the opportunity to finish their season crowned inaugural Tyrrells Premier 15s champions. It’s been a positive few weeks for the group in terms of performance on the pitch and the continued hard work away from it. The teams know each other well from our previous encounters and there will be a big onus on collision wins with both teams fighting hard to stamp down their own dominance through set piece. There are so many exciting head to head battles which will have a major say on the outcome of the game. It should be great for the neutral to watch.”
Harlequins Ladies coach Gary Street told their club website: “We are all extremely excited. We have had a great week’s training, and we have been able to pick a settled team for the final.
“We have a really strong bench and though Ellie Miles misses out, having Jess Breach available has given us all a great boost. I’m sure it’s going to be a final worth watching and a great showcase of the current state of the women’s game”
How to follow
TV: Live on Sky Sports Action from 14H45
Live Stream: www.Premier15s.com
Twitter: Follow #SarriesLive via @saracenswomen