Worcester Valkyries : Kat Merchant

Worcester Valkyries are bidding to make history by becoming one of the first Women’s Premiership teams to compete in the Singha 7s Premiership Rugby Series Final.

For the first time ever, the Women’s Premiership 7s Final will take place before the men’s Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Final in front of thousands at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, the home of Wasps at 5.20pm on Sunday, 7 August.

Before Worcester Valkyries can think about lifting the Singha 7s trophy in prestigious surroundings, they’ll have to navigate their way through the pool games that same morning at the nearby Broadstreet Rugby Club facilities, kindly donated by the RFU.

Worcester Valkyries have been drawn in to a pool with Richmond Women, Aylesford Bulls and DMP Sharks and must finish in the top two and overcome their opponents in the semi-final – which could be any of Saracens Women, Lichfield, Wasps and Bristol – to make it to the Ricoh Arena in the evening.

Kat Merchant, backs coach and head coach of this tournament for Worcester Valkyries, spoke of her delighted at being a part of the tournament:

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to be a part of the 7s, I just think the game is moving so far forward and tournaments like this where the women get to take centre stage can feel surreal. So the experience will be on another level if we make the Ricoh Arena and definitely a highlight for us.

“We have quite a few young girls at Worcester and they’ll definitely be looking to soak up the experience and build into that.

“The 7s alone is a perfect platform and real chance for these girls to prove themselves at a big tournament that binds you together and will be a big confidence boost for these girls just being a part of the squad, before the 15-season starts.

“”I’m excited to see Ceri Large and Bianca Blackburn playing together. Bianca is really quick and Ceri can score tries from anywhere and Lydia Thompson on the wing is an absolute flyer so they’re definitely the Worcester Valkyries players to watch out for.”

Dominic Hayes, Commercial Director at Premiership Rugby, added: “Having the Women’s Premiership 7s Final during the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Final is ground-breaking and will provide an exciting addition to the event.

“Sixteen England internationals have represented their clubs in the 7s, which is proof that these tournaments are a great opportunity for fans to see the next generation of superstars coming through from the men’s and women’s teams.

“These finals take place a day after the Olympic 7s kick off in Rio, so interest in the sport will be high and we are hoping for the biggest Singha 7s crowd yet at the Ricoh Arena.”


Worcester Valkyries 7s squad:

Ceri Large

Megan Goddard

Bianca Blackburn

Josie Symonds

Sian Williams

Lydia Thompson

Lyndsay O’Donnell

Rhi Parker

Sam Bree

Zoe Benion

Alexia Mavroudis

Sarah Davey

For tickets to the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series Final, please visit www.premiershiprugby.com/singha7stickets