After the 6 Nations jamboree we can get down to the serious business of the last round of the Prem 15s. The only mathematically possible change in the top four would be a loss for Quins meaning a gain for Wasps. That is not going to happen. It’s a sad time for Quins as Karen Findlay says goodbye to them at the end of the season after five years. Only the champions’ spot has remained beyond their reach during her guardianship.
Exeter Chiefs v Gloucester-Hartpury
DMP Durham Sharks v Harlequins
Loughborough Lightning v Sale Sharks
Worcester Warriors v Saracens (live-streamed)
Wasps v Bristol Bears
All start at 2 pm bar Exeter at 6 pm.
Beth Stafford, Sale’s captain, is the first player to announce her re-signing. She has called Sharks’ Round 17 win over Exeter as the result of the season. If they can beat Lightning away from home, they can truly feel they have arrived.
Several Red Roses are called back to action, eg Aldcroft, Breach, Bryony Cleall, Dow, Harrison, Kildunne, Packer, Riley and Ward, but Poppy Cleall is being kept on ice for the play-offs. One huge surprise is to see Emma Wassell of Corstophine Cougars, an ever-present in the Scotland side, listed to play for Lightning. We can safely discount another signing; Emma Scarratt looks more like a typo than a wannabee.
Live stream is on offer from Worcester.
It’s excellent to see three female referees appointed for this last round, Katherine Ritchie, Nia Parsonage and Nikki O’Donnell.
We can only hope that last weekend’s boycott of social media will have had its effect.
The RFU deserves huge congratulation on seeing this mammoth show through to its completion. Only the knock-out stages remain. We await news of the venue for the final with some impatience.