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(W) Premiership Women’s Rugby ~ Match of the weekend: Saracens v Bristol Bears

🏉 The 2023/2024 Premiership Women’s Rugby (PWR) season is reaching the business end.  Three London teams – Saracens, Harlequins and Trailfinders – have been competing in the top tier of women’s club rugby in England.  And now just one remains … 

STOP PRESS: It’s official!  Saracens will meet Bristol Bears on Sunday 9 June at StoneX Stadium in the play-off semi-finals!  Tickets are on sale here.  At stake, a place in the Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby Final at Sandy Park on Saturday 22 June.

The final Allianz Premier 15s title was decided in June 2023.  Gloucester-Hartpury were crowned champions.  They beat Exeter Chiefs 34-19 in the Grand Final in front of a record crowd at Kingsholm.  Aptly-named Queensholm for the occasion.  Shortly afterwards Premiership Women’s Rugby launched a new era for women’s rugby in England.  And after eight months of rugby just four teams remain with a chance of winning the inaugural PWR final.

👀 READ ON for season so far news, matches coming up in London and how you can be there! 👇

9 sides are contesting the new Premiership Women’s Rugby season over 18 regular rounds starting this autumn and finishing in June 2024.  Saracens – the 2021/2022 champions – are one of three London Premiership Women’s Rugby teams, along with Harlequins and new entrants Trailfinders.   Joining the sides from the capital are the reigning Premier 15s champions Gloucester Hartpury along with Bristol Bears, Leicester Tigers, Exeter Chiefs, Sale Sharks and Loughborough Lightning.

SEASON SO FAR – LONDON PREMIERSHIP WOMEN’S TEAMS

Update: 2 June.  The regular season is now complete.  Gloucester-Hartpury finished top, with Saracens in second, Bristol Bears third place and Exeter Chiefs in fourth.  Those four sides progress to the play-off semi-finals on the weekend of Sunday 9 June.  Gloucester Hartpury v Exeter Chiefs & Saracens v Bristol Bears.  The two semi-final winners will meet at Sandy Park on Sunday 22 June in the in augural Premiership Women’s Rugby Final! 

After fourteen rounds of fixtures, champions Gloucester-Hartpury are top of the PWR table on 69 points.  Their victory against Loughborough Lightning on Sunday made it 14 wins on the spin for Gloucester this season.  2022 Premier 15s champions Saracens are in hot pursuit on 55 points, having played a game less.  The north London side demolished Sale Sharks 54-21 last time out.  They’ve now won their last 13 home matches.

Saracens and Gloucester Hartpury are set to collide at Fortress StoneX Stadium on Saturday 25 May in the most eagerly anticipated match of the season so far.

Harlequins have experienced a rollercoaster season so far.  After back-to-back defeats against Loughborough Lightning and Bristol Bears earlier in the campaign they put in a masterclass against Sale Sharks (running in nine tries in a 53-12 home win) only to come up agonisingly short against Saracens.  Most recently, Quins beat Leicester Tigers on home soil to remain in sixth place on 28 points.  To maintain their chances of a top-four finish and a place in the end-of-season play-offs, Harlequins’ next home match against Bristol Bears (currently fourth) on Saturday 25 May is a must-win.

Trailfinders registered a first win in their history when they beat fellow PWR newcomers Leicester Tigers 36-7 in early December.  Trailfinders also scalped Sale Sharks before the year was out.  However, the west London side have come back to earth with a bump in 2024.  Back-to-back defeats against high-flying Exeter Chiefs and reigning champions Gloucester Hartpury respectively were followed by a 45-21 defeat away to Loughborough Lighting and a 48-17 loss to leaders Saracens.  Trailfinder suffered a 40-10 home defeat to Exeter Chiefs last time out.  The west London side are seventh in the table on 23 points.

🕒 PREMIERSHIP MATCHES COMING UP IN THE CAPITAL

The PWR action is back with a double-header of action in the capital on Saturday 25 May.  Saracens host Gloucester-Hartpury in a top-of-the-table clash at StoneX Stadium while Harlequins take on Bristol Bears at The Stoop.  Fixture timings below.

Saturday 25 May: Saracens v Gloucester Hartpury KO 12pm ~ Harlequins v Bristol Bears KO 3pm.

Saturday 2 June: Harlequins v Trailfinders KO 3pm.

🎟️ TICKET NEWS LATEST: Harlequins ~ Saracens ~ Ealing Trailfinders

ABOUT PREMIERSHIP WOMEN’S RUGBY (PWR)

A new era for women’s rugby in England started in July 2023 with the launch of Premiership Women’s Rugby (PWR).  This replaces the previous Premier 15s which started in September 2017.

Premiership Women’s Rugby will manage the Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby club competition, which starts in the autumn of 2023 and takes place over eight months with the semi-final play-offs and Grand Final set to take place in June.

PWR exists to deliver a ten-year strategy for women’s rugby in England.  The launch of the Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby league is part of that strategy.  This is a partnership between the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and the clubs.

The mission of Premiership Women’s Rugby is to be the world’s most competitive, progressive and sustainable domestic competition.  The PWR vision and mission is to create a generation of players and fans inspired by world-class club competition over the next decade.

A top tier of women’s rugby union has existed since 1990.  It lead to an improvement in England’s fortunes on the international stage.  This ultimately saw the ‘Red Roses’ win the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2014 and finish runners-up in 2017.

September 2017 saw the commencement of the Premier 15s designed to support the Red Roses’ ambition to be the number one team in the world.  10 teams took part.  Saracens Women were the inaugural champions beating London rivals Harlequins in the play-off final.

Teams for 2023/2024

Bristol Bears, Exeter Chiefs, Gloucester-Hartpury, Harlequins, Leicester Tigers, Loughborough Lightning, Sale Sharks, Saracens, and Trailfinders.

The three London Premiership Women’s rugby teams are Harlequins (based at Twickenham Stoop and Guildford).  Saracens (who play their home matches at StoneX Stadium).  Trailfinders (based at Trailfinders Sports Club).

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