Premier 15s Final: First Time Champion to Be Crowned at Gloucester's 'Queensholm' Stadium - Ruck

Premier 15s Final: First Time Champion to Be Crowned at Gloucester’s ‘Queensholm’ Stadium

A new name will be etched on the Allianz Premier 15s trophy this coming Saturday, as Gloucester-Hartpury and Exeter Chiefs are set to battle it out for the top prize in English Women’s club rugby.

Both sides are looking to win the Premier 15s title for the first time in their respective histories, with Gloucester-Hartpury also set for their first appearance in the competition’s final. The stage is set at the home of Gloucester rugby, with the stadium being appropriately re-named to ‘Queensholm’ for Saturday’s marquee event.

(L to R) Zoe Aldcroft, co-captain of Gloucester-Hartpury, Natasha ÔMoÕ Hunt, co-captain of Gloucester-Hartpury, Poppy Leith, Captain of Exeter Chiefs Women and Rachel Johnson of Exeter Chiefs Women pose with the Allianz Premier 15s Trophy outside Queensholm. In celebration of the Allianz Premier 15s final coming to Kingsholm, the home of Gloucester Rugby will adopt a new name for one week only: Queensholm. The new name was unveiled by Gloucester Rugby at the stadium today, as the captains and coaches of the Premier 15s finalist gathered to preview the league showpiece, taking place this Saturday 24 June during the Allianz Premier 15s Final Media Event at Kingsholm Stadium on June 19th, 2023 in Gloucester, England. Photo by Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

Since the league’s inception in 2017 after the suspension of the Women’s Premiership, only Saracens and Harlequins have had the honour of being the champions of the division.

For the first time, Saracens miss out on the final, as the Londoners were knocked out by the Chiefs. The 24-21 victory was a sweet act of revenge for last season’s final, which saw Sarries defeat Exeter 43-21, and lift a record third Premier 15s title. Saracens left the pitch 14-0 up at half time, as tries from Hannah Botterman and Sarah McKenna established a strong lead, with Holly Aitchison adding the conversions.

Sarah McKenna of Saracens Women clears the ball during the Allianz Premier 15s semi-final match between Exeter Chiefs Women and Saracens Women at Sandy Park on 11 June 2023. Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK.

The action continued into the half-time break, with alleged reports that Saracens player Poppy Cleall headbutted a member of the Exeter Chiefs coaching staff. The Chiefs fought back in the second half to level up the scoring through Kate Zackary and Hope Rogers’ tries.

Jess Breach then scored Saracens’ third, to establish daylight after 68 minutes. However, Exeter completed an incredible comeback, as a 24-21 victory was secured by a late Eilidh Sinclair try, and the accurate kicking of Liv McGoverne.

Try Celebrations for Rachel Lund of Gloucester-Hartpury Women during the Allianz Premier 15s Semi Final Match between Gloucester-Hartpury Women and Bristol Bears Women at Kingsholm on 10 June. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

Gloucester-Hartpury reached the home-soil final following a top placed league finish, their first in Premier 15s history. The Cherry and Whites built on this with a triumphant semi-final victory in a West Country derby, as they despatched Bristol Bears Women 21-12.

Sarah Beckett and Kelsey Jones set Gloucester-Hartpury off on the right foot, as the duo each scored first half tries. Bristol’s Lark Davies responded in the second half, grabbing a brace and reducing the deficit to just two points for the final 20 minutes.

Yet Gloucester-Hartpury pulled away, as Rachael Lund finished a flowing move 12 minutes from time to seal the victory.