A number of firsts:
Glos-Pury’s first victory
The first final to involve two clubs outside London.
The first final to be played on the home ground of one of the finalists, a feature not to be repeated. But how to be sure? Choose HQ? Vickii Cornborough did suggest it six years ago.
The first time a famous stadium has been renamed in honour of a final (Queensholm)
The first time a head coach has been in charge of both clubs. She still seemed pretty upset.
The biggest crowd yet for a final, 9,668.
But none of the four officials was a woman. Contrast the Trent Bridge test: both umpires women.
Quins remain the only side to win the trophy after failing to finish top of the league.
Yet another game was marred by a sequence of yellow cards; commentators once more saying: ‘She was lucky it wasn’t red’.
In the commendable search for a safer game, the law-makers need to scratch their heads again to find a way of ensuring spectators get a 15 v 15 game. Other punishments are available, though not tying boot-laces together.
A fortnight before the final, Chiefs announced an open-top bus parade through the centre of the city of Exeter to celebrate two victories, by their men’s and women’s teams.
The men won the Premiership Rugby Cup in extra time against London Irish. The women won the Allianz Cup for the second time running.
To put these triumphs into some perspective: Chiefs’ men’s side finished seventh in the Gallagher Premiership league, and player after player is leaving the club for other shores.
The Allianz Cup passed under the radar of most rugby fans. Chiefs posted strong sides for their matches; wasn’t the underlying principle to give the other squad members a chance to shine?
The new regulations
England v The World: Exeter 5-10; G-H 10-5. How will those ratios be forced to change before next season?
If the eligibility regulations for next season are really tight, that may have been Exeter’s last chance to win the title for a good few years.
One suggestion is that as many as 16 of the listed squad of 23 must be England Qualified Players (EQPs). That would change the face of several clubs. Bristol, Exeter, Sale, Loughborough, Worcester, to name but half of them. It would also limit the field the two new clubs can pick from. The policy that Susie Appleby followed mid-lockdown cannot be followed. Presumably only the very best non-EQPs would be considered, to conform to the rules while ensuring a successful season.