Source: Wasps

Midweek Catch-up news – Fifteens  and Sevens

  • +1

The Premier 15s resumes with a full programme


Exeter v DMPDS
Wasps v Saracens
Loughborough v Worcester
Gloucester-Hartpury v Bristol
Sale v Harlequins

Games to be livestreamed:

Loughborough v Worcester
Sale v Quins
Wasps v Saracens

Round 13 offers three derbies (though Lightning and Warriors are close only on a national scale). Wasps will be very keen to get the better of Sarries after their eleventh-hour loss to Quins, but history stands against them. Glos-Pury should see off the Bears despite the visitors’ reassuring win over Sale.  Warriors still aren’t firing on all cylinders; Lightning may take them to town.

Two long journeys for Darlington and Quins, but with contrasting outcomes likely. Exeter will be full of the joys of spring after tumultuous wins over the top two. Sale were pleased to gain a second win in the north-east, but Quins are made of a different metal.

A glance at some stats

From the forest of stats kindly provided by the AP 15s stats guru, one of the most revealing is the split in try-scoring between backs and forwards. It looks like this:

                             Backs    Forwards

Saracens                   21                34
Quins                        21                 33
Loughborough        22                20
Wasps                       34                 19
Exeter                       10                 22
Glos-Pury                 15                 12
Bristol                       23                 11
Worcester                 15                 18
Sale                            11                   5
DMPDS                     0                   0

Of course stats can prove anything. A brilliant move created by all seven backs may result in a final touch by a forward sneaking into the frame at the last moment. This list reveals five clubs whose backs do most of the points-scoring, but only two where the balance is extreme: Wasps and Bristol. The Bears owe their presence on this august mini-list largely to the skills of Jasmine Joyce.  As soon as Giselle Mather announced the arrival of Megan Jones, Celia Quansah, Ellie Kildunne and Carys Williams, plus the return of Amy Wilson Hardy, Wasps were short-odds favourites to take the lead.

How the table looks

The table is still rather a jumble with postponed games to be replayed. In other respects it’s the familiar top four in place. At first glance Sarries’ lead looks barely bridgeable, but then the play-offs render the final positions unimportant. In the only two finals to be completed so far the side finishing top has walked off with the crown. Somehow you feel that this season the outcome could possibly be different.

Exeter have made huge strides, but the gap of 6 points to 4th-placed Wasps (who have a game in hand) shows how hard it is to climb the slippery pole. Already the qualifiers for the play-offs look certain. That’s a pity.

The three west-country sides occupy the next positions. Gloucester-Hartpury will be concerned that they aren’t a couple of places higher. The Warriors have been the biggest disappointment, occupying the same position with the same number of wins as at the end of last season’s truncated season. They acquired a number of quality players but haven’t yet turned the tide.

Clubs are now suffering the effects of the rearranged season. International players have been called away to prepare for the 6 Nations in April. It remains to be seen how many will come back to the league to strengthen their club’s chances.

The GB women’s 7s squad won’t begin face-to-face training till 15 March, a fortnight after the men.

One crucial difference between the two squads is that the official women’s version doesn’t exist yet! Scott Forrest’s plans were put on hold a year ago and remain there. He has to sift the 24 names down to a final twelve, with travelling reserves a strong possibility.

Most of the suspects are operating in the Allianz Premier 15s, but not all of the Scots, who will be at a huge disadvantage when the wider squad comes together again.

The time-span March-July seems quite inadequate for the purpose. Sure, all the other nations’ efforts have been dislocated, but a glance at the Madrid Sevens last weekend shows the standards to be reached – in Europe alone – forget about the New World and Australasia. There Russia saw off France 17-5 in a classy final.