ROUND 15 PREMIER 15s RECAP

Jess Hayden

Round 15 was one of the most exciting weeks of the season so far, with the end of the season in sight for all teams. All games were high scoring, with lots of highlights and last-minute action. Here is Ruggette RFC’s Round 15 round-up

Saracens 34 – 21 Exeter Chiefs

The hotly anticipated clash between title leaders Saracens and newcomers Exeter Chiefs did not disappoint. Exeter Chiefs, who had not lost in seven games, led 21-10 at half time after capitalising on a series of Saracens’ infringements that saw May Campbell and Eloise Hayward off with yellow cards. Rachel Johnson scored two tries for the Chiefs, one against a 13-woman Saracens, and Sachiko Kato also crossed the line against the depleted London team.

Saracens’ Zoe Harrison was quick to react after the break with a penalty, which was quickly followed by a try from Charlotte (Lotte) Clapp. Vicky Fleetwood scored the try that put Saracens in the lead before May Campbell crossed the line to secure a Saracens victory at the StoneX Stadium.

Bristol Bears 7 – 62 Harlequins

Harlequins, who sit in second place behind Saracens, won a dominant game against Bristol Bears. A sea of try scorers for Harlequins included Chloe Edwards, Leanne Riley, Jess Breach, Amy Cokayne, Heather Cowell, and Bethan Dainton.

Harlequins had a bonus point at just 27 minutes into the game and were 33 points up against Bristol at half time – including a penalty try awarded to the visiting side. By the end of the game, Bristol managed just one try, from Phoebe Murray, who was supported by Elinor Snowsill.

The game finished with a small bit of Premier 15s history: The second ever successful drop goal in the league, scored by Harlequins Ellie Green, who also scored the first successful Premier 15s drop goal.

Gloucester-Hartpury 28 – 24 Worcester Warriors

The closest game of the week came from the Alpas Arena, with an edge-of-your-seat match between Gloucester-Hartpury and Worcester Warriors. The game was won by Wales Women’s Robyn Lock, who scored a try for Gloucester in the last play of the game. It was an incredibly close game that Worcester will be sad to see slip away, especially as it moves Gloucester-Hartpury above them in the league.

Exeter had a dominant first half, with two tries and a penalty for the home side. After a difficult first half, Loughborough came back strong and had a ferocious second half, eventually breaking down Exeter’s strong defence with a try for Megan Davey. In the final play of the game Helena Rowland crossed the line to finish the game 17-12 to Exeter Chiefs.

Sale Sharks 31 – 3 DMP Durham Sharks

In the battle of the Sharks, Sale secured a bonus point against DMP Durham Sharks in a 31-3 victory between the two bottom-of-the-table sides. It’s another worrying defeat for DMP, who sit at the bottom of the Premier 15s table with zero points. Katy Daley-McLean was the stand-out performer, setting up many of Sale’s tries.

Loughborough Lightning 14 – 36 Wasps

Megan Jones was characteristically excellent for Wasps and is easily one of the most dangerous players on a Premier 15s pitch. In the first five minutes she made one of her signature breaks, storming through Loughborough’s defence before offloading to Amy Wilson-Hardy who scored. Wasps were quick to score another try, as Maud Muir crossed the line following a line-out drive. The Brunel student has just been named in the England Women’s Six Nations squad and has developed exceptionally well under Giselle Mather’s leadership at Wasps.

Maud’s England teammate Lark Davies was quick to score a try for Loughborough Lightning, but the try of the game – and possibly the season – came from another Megan Jones offload, this time to Abby Dow. Celia Quansah secured the bonus point for Wasps before Loughborough responded with another Lark Davies try. The final two tries of the game came from Wasps as Sabia Kabeya and Abby Dow sealed the victory.

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