The Prem 15s calendar cunningly makes use of a gap in England’s Six Nations programme to insert the penultimate round of the season. But the Red Roses have a date with the Welsh squad for a so-called ‘training day’. Both are preparing for Super Saturday the following weekend, when the finishing order will be decided.
Who is and isn’t required for international duty this week can make a big difference to a club’s chances.
Bristol Bears v DMP Durham Sharks
Gloucester-Hartpury v Wasps
Harlequins v Worcester Warriors
Loughborough Lightning v Saracens
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs
NB All will start at 13.00 as a mark of respect to the late Duke of Edinburgh.
Quins are the first to announce their match with Warriors will be live-
streamed. Nick Heath and Mo Hunt will cover the Lightning game for us.
The top three in the league have already qualified for the knock-out stages (see table below), but the Chiefs still have a chance of displacing Lightning. They are far less affected by England call-ups, so can expect to take a full five points off Sale. Their final game at home to Glos-Pury isn’t a banker, but they should be confident of finishing with 58 points.
Lightning need just one bonus-point win to be sure of reaching the semis. Their biggest challenge is to see off Sarries at home. Both sides are likely to be without a number of Red Roses, but Sarries have proved in the past that makes little difference to them. Lightning’s final task is to beat Sale at home. If the current top 4 stay there, it will mean a repeat of the 2018-9 season’s finale.
It’s a pity that these last two rounds of a great competition are separated by three weeks. It robs us of momentum, but is the direct consequence of the pandemic, so we must be grateful for small mercies.
The Top Five
Table P W L D B Pts
Saracens 16 13 2 1 14 69
Harlequins 16 12 3 1 13 63
Wasps 16 12 4 0 12 61
Loughborough 16 11 5 0 10 54
Exeter 16 10 6 0 8 48