Saracens and Harlequins will battle it out at Kingsholm this afternoon for the Premier 15s title.
It will be the third time Harlequins meet two-time champions Saracens in the final. The North London club were victorious in 2018 and 2019, while last year’s contest was declared null and void due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saracens overcame Loughborough Lightning 28-24 last week to reach the final. Harlequins enjoyed a more comfortable 25-14 victory over Wasps Ladies to progress, but their opponents today have the better record in the league, finishing six points clear.
It is sure to be an intriguing match-up – GiveMeSport Women looks at who could make the difference.
Sophie de Goede – Saracens
Sophie de Goede was the standout performer in last weekend’s semi-final between Saracens and Loughborough Lightning, earning the player of the match accolade.
The Canadian scored two tries and kicked three out of a possible five conversions in the thrilling clash. She could again make the difference for her side as they look for yet another Premier 15s title.
Marlie Packer – Saracens
The 32-year-old Marlie Packer was another integral player for Saracens last weekend. Her last gasp turnover ended Loughborough Lightning’s hopes of snatching a victory at the death.
Packer also has experience contesting the Premier 15s title, earning the player of the match award during the inaugural final in 2018. This may come to good use during today’s clash, but the flanker has refused to be complacent.
“We’ve beaten Harlequins twice in a final but we cannot lay on that, we have to make sure we go into this final fresh,” she said.
Lotte Clapp – Saracens
Saracens will be hoping for an assured performance from captain Lotte Clapp today. At just 26-years-old, she has already lifted the Premier 15s trophy in both 2018 and 2019, and will be drawing on her experience to raise it for a third time.
Clapp has scored eight tries in 18 matches this season, confirming her place as one of the most prolific wingers in the league. She revealed the prospect of securing the title again has been a significant motivator this year.
“It would mean everything to us to win it. Saracens is all about the winning way across the whole club and it’s not been an easy ride with all of the COVID related changes so to lift the trophy at the end would be an amazing way to finish.”
Heather Cowell – Harlequins
Heather Cowell has been named in the Harlequins starting line-up as a replacement for Jess Breach, who starred in the club’s triumph against Wasps.
The 25-year-old, a former gymnast, has big boots to fill. She could end up being the star of the show herself, however, with the wing showing her worth in previous Premier 15s contests.
Abbie Ward – Harlequins
Line-out specialist Abbie Ward has been chosen as one to watch by her own opponent, Poppy Cleall of Saracens. With Cleall one of the most exciting talents in rugby at the moment, this is a warning to take seriously.
The 28-year-old has played for Harlequins since 2017, also racking up 47 appearances for England during her career. She could be the game-changer as her side looks to finally defeat Saracens in the Premier 15s final.
The Premier 15s final between Saracens and Harlequins starts at 4pm. It can be watched on BT Sport and the Premier 15s website for free.