Source: PWR

PWR – Round 9 – Preview

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Halfway House

The 9th Set of Fixtures out of 18

Saturday 20 January

Exeter Chiefs bye
Bristol Bears v Harlequins, KO 13.00
Gloucester-Hartpury v Saracens, KO 14.00
Loughborough Lightning v Trailfinders, KO 14.00 (NB match switched to Loughborough; Northampton frozen)

Sunday 21 January

Sale Sharks v Leicester Tigers, KO 14.00

It’s inevitable; with only four matches on offer each weekend, there’s bound to be at least one Big Game. This time it could hardly be bigger, second versus first.

This is where coaches have to dismiss ideas of giving everyone a chance and finally decide who precisely deserves to start. But at this level of opulence Sean Lynn and Alex Austerberry have the choice between two high-class internationals for one position: Ella Wyrwas or Leanne Infante, Sarah Beckett or Zoe Aldcroft?

Injuries, though upsetting for the victim and sympathisers, can help solve tricky decisions. One such has overtaken Aldcroft. It’s Infante’s turn for Sarries.

Quins have another testing contest awaiting them, away to Bears, who may at last have found something like the form everyone expected of them in November. They are the two major clubs who have failed to find consistency. But Bears have suffered a big setback in the injury to Sarah Bern.

Trailfinders knew they would face few easy matches all season. It’s their bad luck to visit Northampton (no, Loughboro’) precisely when Lightning will be bubbling with confidence. Their away win over Quins will have rebuilt their self-belief. At least TF will be able to play in daylight – no, I didn’t say warm sunshine – for the first time in yonks.

For me a personal battle to savour is Rowland v Dow. I recall vividly two astonishing tackles by R on D in two meetings in one season. Twice she ran far cross-field to chop D down just short of the line, as few ever manage to do.

Vicky Laflin’s try of the week was an encouraging sign for TF: they have two players capable of running the length of the field to score.

Only three NEQPs in Round 8’s Team of the Week! What has happened to world rugby?

Now we know the make-up of the England training squad, even more eyes will be focused on their performances.

Table ​​​

                                    P​     W​      L​      B    Pts

Saracens                  7      7      ​0        7     35
Glos-Pury         ​​       6      6      0        5      29
Exeter​​​                       7     6        2        8     28
Bears       ​​                 7       4      3         4     20
Lightning                7        3     4         4     16
Trailfinders      ​​​       7       2     5          5     13
Harlequins  ​​           7      2       5          5      13  ​
Sale         ​​                 5       1       4         3       7
Tigers​​​                      7       0      7          2       2


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