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Domestic leagues across Europe heating up

Domestic leagues across Europe heating up

Women's Six Nations Championship Third Place Play-Off, Energia Park, Donnybrook, Co. Dublin 24/4/2021 Ireland Women vs Italy Women Ireland's Aoife McDermott Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Italy’s Serie A Femminile returns from its winter break, while the Irish and Scottish leagues enter the business end of the season.

In France, there are chances for plenty of teams to close gaps while the league lead could change hands in the Premier 15s for a second weekend running.

The All-Ireland League has reached the post-season stage with the top four now squaring off for the chance to become champions.

Railway Union topped the regular-season standings after winning seven of their nine games, drawing the other two.

They will face second-place UL Bohemian and can call on Ireland internationals Aoife McDermott and Aoife Doyle.

The other top four tussle sees fourth host third with Blackrock College welcoming Old Belvedere with Blackrock smarting after losing in the All-Ireland Cup quarter-final to Railway Union.

With all matches getting underway at 2:30pm CET on Sunday, the pick of the Italian games sees first play third as leaders Valsugana host Colorno in Padova.

Beatrice Rigoni’s Valsugana are yet to lose a game this season, including recording a 25-5 win away at Sunday’s opponents in October.

Bottom side Benetton face a tricky trip to take on Villorba who sit second and count Six Nations star Sara Barattin among their numbers, while the other game sees Milano make the trip to Turin to take on CUS Torino.

The Tennent’s Women’s Premiership reaches the play-offs in Scotland this weekend and begins with Watsonian taking on Stirling County.

Watsonian finished the regular season seven points ahead of Stirling in an incredibly tight table, with Hillhead Jordanhill and Corstorphine separated by only two points.

Those two will square off in Glasgow, while the other game between the bottom two sides Heriot’s Blues and Cartha Queen’s Park has been rescheduled to next weekend due to Covid.

In France, ASM Romagnat have the chance to close the gaps on leaders Stade Toulousain in Pool 1 of Elite 1 Feminine.

Romagnat are nine points behind Toulouse with a game in hand but must travel to AC Bobigny who sit fourth.

The top two in Pool 2 have bye weeks meaning Carla Neisen’s Blagnac Sporting Club lead the way when they take on fifth-placed Chilly Mazarin on Saturday evening.

Lille have the chance to overtake their opponents Lyon with the two sides separated by only two points.

The final match sees Grenoble welcome Stade Français with the hosts looking for just their second win of the campaign.

In the English Premier 15s, new leaders Saracens head to Loughborough Lightning as the 2021 Six Nations Player of the Championship Poppy Cleall takes on her England captain Sarah Hunter.

Deposed leaders Bristol Bears will hope to regain top spot as they travel to bottom side DMP Durham Sharks for the early kick-off on Saturday.

Jasmine Joyce and Alisha Butchers are among the Welsh players in Premier 15s action days after being confirmed as the first recipients of professional contracts from the WRU.

Gloucester-Hartpury welcome Sale Sharks while Sunday sees Worcester Warriors take on Wasps, with third playing fourth as Exeter Chiefs host champions Harlequins.