women's rugby, Harlequins Women, Shaunagh Brown

Champions of England: Quins win Premier 15s title at last

Mike Bovill
Authored by Mike Bovill
Posted: Monday, May 31, 2021 - 08:51

Having lost two previous finals and then suffered the frustration of a cancelled campaign due to coronavirus, Harlequins finally won the Allianz Premier 15s title at the fourth attempt against old rivals Saracens.

Despite the emergence of far more competitive opponents than the early years of the competition, it was still the same two teams who qualified first and second - Sarries taking top spot - at the end of the regular season.

However, both sides had to battle through their respective semi-finals, Quins overcoming Wasps whilst Saracens struggled to contain a Loughborough side determined to cause an upset, to meet in the final at Kingsholm in front of 2,000 fans.

Having to start without injured England winger Jess Breach, Quins were quickly without captain Rachael Burford as well after the centre limped off with a leg problem. But two penalties for Lagi Tuima plus two tries from hooker Amy Cokayne soon saw them move into a commanding lead.

Saracens, though, were not quite ready to relinquish their title. Marlie Packer nearly inspired a comeback, crossing for two tries herself. Harlequins then had Abbie Ward and Cokayne sent to the sin bin at the same time.

But just at the point when Sarries needed to hold their nerve and discipline, they did neither - allowing Tuima to kick the penalties which guided her side to the title.

Talisman Shaunagh Brown was the Player of the Match whilst it was also a fitting send off for former head coach turned forwards coach Karen Findlay in her final match with the club.

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