Source: Wasps

The Game Must go on! – Allianz Premier 15s – Round Three

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Intense pressure to provide greater coverage of games, led by Dr Mark McCall,  has had its effect. Every match will have highlights shown. But as expected, the sheer cost of offering every game on livestream was a piggy-bank too far for the RFU.

It was inevitable that the pile-up of international fixtures would affect Prem 15s clubs. So a side like Bristol paid for its transfer campaign with an unwanted home loss. They had to make eight changes to cover for their Welsh internationals.

Off and On

On Friday the Gloucester-Hartpury-Sale match became the second to fall foul of the pandemic. Sale players who work in the local community tested positive. The RFU is still deciding on the future of the fixture.

But there were very welcome returns for Lydia Thompson, Rowena Burnfield and especially Bryony Cleall after a long lay-off.

Worcester v Wasps

This was another star-studded fixture, Red Roses confronting each other at No 8, scrum-half and wing. But the Black-and-Golds (their away strip favouring the latter) boasted the larger star-cluster in a rain-soaked sky; the Warriors managed their only score in the dying wet embers of the game.

Right at the start Claudia Macdonald slipped through from an untidy Wasps’ line-out nearly to the line. It put them in charge for an age. A whole sequence of drives were needed for the defence to buckle, but after four minutes Heather Kerr – her first start today – drove over. Megan Jones converted (7-0).

At a very rare scrum Warriors pushed Wasps back but couldn’t retrieve the ball. Nine minutes in Jones pulled a penalty attempt, and you wondered if the miss might prove costly. But no. It took Warriors seventeen minutes to establish a position in the enemy half.

There was huge endeavour on both sides, but the wet ball made continuity tricky. Players were guilty of forcing the pace, taking a risky option, when a moment’s assessment might have brought reward.

On the half-hour the rain intensified. Warriors came more into the game, but Wasps’ defences held firm.

Half-time 0-7

Giselle Mather may well have told her team that single score wasn’t what they should have achieved, especially since the Warriors would have wind and rain in their favour. But Wasps reasserted their pressure at once, allowing Jones to add a penalty.

Another landmark: on 40 minutes (no longer half-time after the law-amendments!) the referee ordered a second scrum. Front rows must wonder what the game is coming to.

Just two minutes later Jones kicked a penalty to touch. For once a line-out worked to order; the pack drove and Hannah West claimed the second try. Jones converted.

We had to wait till the 61st minute to see a backs move work perfectly. Wasps ran the ball right, Ellie Kildunne had a rare chance to show her running skills, and she shimmied over on the right. Only her winger and any purists watching will wonder why the final pass wasn’t given.

The game now was beyond Warriors’ reach. This was a surprise, because they had talented players working flat out, Taz Bricknell very prominent in the loose. And Laura Keates and Alex Matthews led up front by deed and word.

But Wasps had marginally better control at half-back, and the debut of Rowena Burnfield (when was her last rugby debut?) added extra purpose and graft up front.

Warriors can take great credit from a series of late drives that finally got Alex Callender over the line, but this minor triumph came far too late.

Result: 7-22

Player of the Match: Hannah West

Saracens v DMP Durham Sharks

This was a walk in a very wet and windy park for Sarries. Tamara Taylor started for them for the first time; how appropriate that it was against the club that decided it didn’t need her services. DMP did pretty well to hold them to 22-0 by the break, but a further fifty points afterwards told their own stark story.

The Sharks have now contrived five points in two games.


Bristol 5 Loughborough 12
Gloucester-Hartpury v Sale (called off)
Quins 33 Exeter 14
Saracens 72 DMPDS 0
Worcester 7 Wasps 22


Bristol v Loughborough
Referee: Charles Gayther
ARs: Adam Wookey & Lloyd Davies

Harlequins v Exeter

Referee: Hamish Grant
ARs: James Clarke & Joshua Burgess

Saracens v DMP Durham Sharks

Referee: Sam Phillips
ARs: James Pidding & Melanie Liley

Worcester v Wasps
Referee: Nick Wood
ARs: Peter Caunt & Jonathan Petzing

Table                                            P   W   Pts
Harlequins                                  3    3      15
Saracens                                      3    3      15
Loughborough                           3     3     14
Gloucester-Hartpury                2     1       7
Worcester                                    3     1      6
Bristol                                           2    1      6
Wasps                                           2    1      4
Exeter                                           3    0      2
Sale                                               2    0      0
DMPDS                                        3    0      0