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Saracens and Railway Union reign supreme

Poppy Cleall
  • Poppy Cleall and Zoe Harrison score two tries each to lead Saracens to Premier 15s glory
  • Shirley Corcoran and Stephanie Carroll steer Railway Union to tight win in the Women’s All-Ireland League.

Grand Slam stars Poppy Cleall and Zoe Harrison scored two tries each as Saracens defended their Premier 15s title with a commanding 33-17 win against Harlequins.

Cleall, who scored four times for England during their successful 2019 Women’s Six Nations campaign, crossed for both of her scores in a dominant first half as Saracens moved 27-0 ahead.

England colleague Harrison also scored twice while Sydney Gregson dotted down, before Quins fought back in the second half with tries from England duo Vickii Cornborough and Rachael Burford.

“To win it is great but to go back-to-back takes guts and determination. We have had Wasps and Bristol punishing us a lot this season to come out and play like that takers heart,” said lock Cleall.

“Every club wants to get a good culture going and if you play rugby, you play well. We knuckled down this season because there were areas we wanted to improve and that showed.

“We did not put our best 80 minutes out there and Quins were so good, it was a tough one, but we can get better and better.

“They took us by surprise quite a bit at the end there, they really came back at us and we had to work for it.

“To come away from that last 40, they really put us under pressure and created chance. We did well to navigate that and play territory in the last ten minutes.

“We had a huge chat before kick-off and our captain said there were players who did not make the 22 and then there were some who were injured – plus it was Georgie Gulliver’s last game in the black and red.”

The Premier 15s was not the only trophy lifted at the weekend, with Railway Union celebrating their success in the Women’s All-Ireland League.

Shirley Corcoran and Stephanie Carroll both crossed for tries in a tight 13-8 win over defending champions UL Bohemians at Energia Park.

The Bohemians were chasing a third straight title and led through a Niamh Briggs penalty – increasing her season’s tally to 93 points – before a 16th-minute try from No.8 Sarah Quin.

But Union fought back, with Corcoran crossing just before half-time to swing the momentum back their way, leaving Carroll to grab the winning score.

Railway head coach John Cronin dedicated the win to club president Charlie Hurley who passed away at the start of the year.

“I can’t really explain how close the president was to the players, he knew all their names and he knew where they were from and he went to their games and some of the players on the pitch carried his coffin,” he explained.

“He loved our games against UL Bohemians. He would have loved that today, because UL Bohs are a huge name in Irish rugby, and for us to be playing in the All-Ireland League final and competing at that level, would have been a big deal for him. We’re delighted we got the job done.”