Below is the Weekly Round up from the RFU, complete with images from Neil Kennedy.
Saturday saw just six of the 10 teams in action, due to the re-scheduling of two fixtures following positive COVID-19 tests.
But whether it was Worcester Warriors’ win on the road at Bristol Bears, Wasps’ ruthless running rugby at Sale Sharks, or Exeter Chiefs pushing Loughborough Lightning all the way, there were plenty of talking points following another pulsating day in the Allianz Premier 15s.
Bristol Bears 12-15 Worcester Warriors
Jo Yapp’s Worcester Warriors recorded an impressive victory on the road and close in on Bristol Bears who sit one place above them in the Allianz Premier 15s table. The visitors left it late but edged a breathless encounter at Shaftesbury Park to put an end to their five-match winless streak. Worcester Warriors opened the scoring on 24 minutes when Sioned Harries burrowed over from a maul, but the Bears took just five minutes to respond when Ellie Mulhearn crashed over from short range. Elinor Snowsill then added the extras and the hosts took a two-point lead into the break. With just under 20 minutes remaining, the Bears back line worked the ball out wide to Wales international Jasmine Joyce, who darted past her marker and under the posts for her eighth try of the season. That was compounded five minutes later by a yellow card for Warriors flanker Alex Callender, and the game seemed to be drifting in Bristol’s favour. But Warriors soon rallied and began to apply pressure in the Bristol half, and were rewarded for their persistence when Harries crossed for her second try of the match. Sarah Nicholas took the conversion to level the scores at 12-12 with less than 10 minutes remaining. The decisive moment came moments later when Bristol were penalised for a deliberate knock-on in the tackle, and Nicholas kicked the subsequent penalty to edge Warriors into a three-point lead. The visitors held out for the remaining five minutes to secure their second win of the campaign, sparking rapturous scenes at the final whistle.
Sale Sharks 8-30 Wasps
Both sides came into this fixture off the back of 11-point wins in the previous round, and it was Giselle Mather’s Wasps side who took maximum points from this encounter at the Corpacq. The visitors started brightly, crossing twice in the opening 12 minutes. First through Red Roses scrum half Claudia Macdonald, after a darting run from the 22, and then through fellow England international Ellie Kildunne, who took advantage of a gap in the Sale Sharks back line to extend Wasps’ lead. The hosts got their first points on the board when Wasps conceded a penalty at the breakdown, and England stalwart Katy Daley-Mclean hit three points from the tee. Wasps then extended their lead just before the break, as Amy Wilson Hardy got on the end of a well-worked move from a line-out and dotted down in the corner to open up a 14-point gap at half time. It took Wasps just three minutes of the second half to extend their lead further: the pack doing the damage this time through loosehead prop Elizabeth Crake. That was followed shortly after by two penalties in quick succession from the boot of Allianz Premier 15s leading points-scorer Megan Jones. Sale Sharks had the last say, however, as a trademark Katy Daley-Mclean cross-field kick found its way to Lauren Delany, who flew over for her second try of the season.
Loughborough Lightning 14-7 Exeter Chiefs
Allianz Premier 15s newcomers Exeter Chiefs pushed top-four side Loughborough Lightning all the way in this closely-fought round eight clash. The Chiefs side took the lead on 24 minutes through McKinley Hunt, after Patricia García’s quick tap and go brought the Chiefs to within touching distance of the Lightning try line. Gabby Cantorna added the extras to give the visitors a 7-point lead, but Lightning levelled the scores just before half time through Scotland wing Rhona Lloyd, who broke through the Chiefs’ defence and sprinted in from the 22. Women’s Six Nations Player of the Championship Emily Scarratt successfully hit the conversion, and the scores were level going into the break. In the second half, Red Roses hooker Lark Davies added to her impressive try-scoring tally this season when she powered over from a short-range pick and go. Scarratt’s conversion took the scores to 14-7, and Lightning saw out the remainder of the match despite a lively second-half performance from Exeter Chiefs, who take away a valuable losing-bonus point against one of the in-form sides in the Allianz Premier 15s.
Top Scorer Stats
Premier15 Top Scorers 2019/20