Source: PWR

A huge weekend of Allianz Cup rugby

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  • World Cup winner Laura Keates to make debut
  • Bristol Bears and Saracens unchanged for the Final…
  • Emma Sing and Mia Venner return from Red Roses squad
  • Jade Kronkel back from injury
  • Cristina Blanco returns from her victorious European Rugby Championship campaign

One of Premiership Women’s Rugby’s showpiece occasions has arrived with the final matches in the Allianz Cup arriving this weekend, when we will crown our 2023-24 champions at Shaftsbury Park on Sunday.

  • PWR is delighted to confirm that the final of the Allianz Cup will be broadcast live on YouTube.
  • The final will take place on Sunday 28 April, at 2pm at Shaftsbury Park.
  • The competition structure puts all nine of our teams in a ranked order so while all eyes will be on the Final, the remaining seven teams have plenty to play for as well.

The full fixture list for this weekend

The Allianz Cup Final – Bristol Bears v Saracens

Sunday 28 April

Shaftsbury Park. Kick off: 2pm

Dave Ward has named an unchanged squad for Sunday’s Allianz Cup final against Saracens at Shaftesbury Park, as the Bears target their first major silverware.

Lucy Burgess captains the side from scrum-half, partnering Lucie Skuse at half back, while Phoebe Murray and Meg Webb continue in the midfield.

Loosehead Simi Pam, whose semi-final double helped fire the Bears towards a home final, joins Jess Sprague and vice-captain Ellie Marston-Mulhearn in the front row, while the experienced Claire Molloy lines up at openside.

Saracens similarly are unchanged with Sonia Green (above, right) ending an incredible career for the club in the Final. She will make her 329th appearance for Saracens Women in the second-row, alongside Emma Taylor.

It’s the second cup final in a row for Saracens Women and, with the Six Nations players to return for the resumption of the league campaign, Akina Gondwe believes that the cup run has put down a marker for what the group want to achieve throughout the rest of the season.

“To get back into the final has set a precedent for the rest of the season. As a squad, we want to be winning things. It’s been really refreshing during this cup block. There’s been young players coming in and chomping at the bit and that has added the extra level of competition and desire. You want players that will give everything, especially in a final and we’ve all been driving each other forward.”

Allianz Cup – Third-Place Play-Off – Exeter Chiefs v Gloucester-Hartpury

Sunday 28 April

Sandy Park. Kick off: 12.30pm

Exeter Chiefs Women will be gunning for third place in this season’s Allianz Cup to set themselves up for the last three regulation games of the league season.

Chiefs’ coaching team have selected a blend of experienced and young players for Sunday’s game that sees them take on Gloucester-Hartpury at Sandy Park (KO 12:30.

Head coach Susie Appleby said: “Tomorrow’s game is really important to us. We want that bronze medal position and to put on a good performance in front of our ever-loyal home supporters.

“Crucially, will also want to create positive momentum that we can take into the final rounds of the Allianz PWR and into the play-offs. We have three more games to play, with two at home; we want to be focused and competitive for these final games.”

Gloucester-Hartpury welcome back Emma Sing and Mia Venner in the back three, who have been released from England camp ahead of the Red Roses Grand Slam decider. Sing starts at fullback, with Venner on the right wing. They are joined by Lizzie Goulden in the back three. Goulden will co-captain the side.

Millie Hyett returns to the starting XV after missing out against Bristol due to injury. Bianca Blackburn goes alongside her at scrum half.

Fifth-Place Play-Off – Loughborough Lightning (22) v Sale Sharks (12)

Saturday 27 April

cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens. Kick off: 2.30pm

Former Red Roses international Laura Keates is in line for her Loughborough Lightning debut after being named in the matchday squad to face Sale Sharks this weekend in the second leg of the fifth-place play-off.

The 2014 Rugby World Cup winner joined Lightning last month to restart her career following injury and the Worcester Warriors’ withdrawal from the league.

The tighthead prop has been named among the replacements for the Allianz Cup fifth-place play-off second leg on Saturday (kick-off: 2.30pm) at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens. Lightning take a ten-point aggregate lead into the game having won the first leg at Heywood Road 22-12 a fortnight ago.

Sale Sharks hand two debuts this weekend as blindside flanker Lucie Sams and Frankie Harvey come in as they try to overcome a 10-point deficit from the first leg.

Seventh-Place Play-Off Pool – Harlequins v Trailfinders Women

Sunday 28 April

Twickenham Stoop. Kick off: 2pm

Harlequins Head Coach Amy Turner makes just two changes from the side who ran in an impressive five tries against Leicester Tigers a fortnight ago, as Quins look to secure seventh place in the Allianz Cup.

The front five remain unchanged, and in the backs, Katie Shillaker starts on the wing and Amy Layzell shifts to fullback replacing Jade Mullen. Rachael Burford captains the side from 12 with Lagi Tuima at outside centre.

Club Captain Jade Konkel is named amongst the Impact Players, making her return from an injury she sustained against Sale in November.

Trailfinders Women make five changes to the starting XV that beat Leicester Tigers 54-5 last week. Cristina Blanco returns from her victorious European Rugby Championship campaign to start at hooker alongside Liz Crake and Kira Leat in the front row.

Emma Swords replaces Sophie Molton at scrum-half, joining Ellie Green in the half-backs. The centre partnership is Abi Burton and Sofia Rolfi, as the Italian international replaces Immy Wilcox.

Finally, Vicky Laflin is promoted from the bench to start in the back three with Liz Musgrove and Rosie Inman.

With thanks to the PWR

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