Domestic weekend preview as Grenoble try to topple Blagnac

Sarah Bonnar and Jade Koinkel tackle Emeline Gros 25/10/2020
The TikTok Women’s Six Nations is just six weeks away and the heat is being cranked up in the domestic leagues as players fight to make the cut.

The TikTok Women’s Six Nations is just six weeks away and the heat is being cranked up in the domestic leagues as players fight to make the cut.

France have released their 40-player squad for an early training camp, and a sizeable chunk will be involved in a top-of-the-table showdown in the Elite 1 this Sunday.

That will be the final act before competition resumes on 25 February, while there is no action in the Italian Eccellenza Femminile this weekend as Italy take on Spain in a friendly.

There is plenty of Premier 15s rugby to watch, however, with two crucial games as teams battle for semi-final positions.

And one, or maybe both, of Wasps and DMP Sharks will be celebrating their first points of the season as the two lock horns on Saturday evening.

French stars on show as Grenoble try to topple Blagnac

The highlight of the weekend comes in the French top flight, where the unbeaten Blagnac travel to second-place Grenoble Amazones.

There could be as many as 16 players in David Ortiz and Gaelle Mignot’s pre-TikTok Women’s Six Nations squad on show at the Lesdiguières on Sunday.

Seven of those missed out on a place for the World Cup but established stars like Grenoble’s Emeline Gros and Blagnac’s Clara Joyeux will also feature alongside young talent like the hosts’ 22-year-old scrum-half Alexandra Chambon.

Elsewhere in the Elite 1, twins Romane and Marine Menager will hope to keep Montpellier in the hunt for the top spot in Pool 1 when they play Pau.

And with Bobigny and Romagnat locked on nine points apiece, experience will come up against youth as Yllana Brosseau tries to stifle Jessy Trémoulière on Saturday.

Gaëlle Hermet, Pauline Bourdon and Maëlle Filopon are all hoping to avoid a slip up when Stade Toulousain visit Pool 1’s bottom side Chilly Mazarin.

And the same can be said for Pool 1 leaders Stade Bordelais, who have eight squad members departing for Les Bleues’ training camp the day after they play Stade Rennais.

Battle for Premier 15s top four intensifies

Three rearranged fixtures from the winter’s cold snap pit TikTok Women’s Six Nations stars against one another and there is still all to play for in the race for the top four.

Nine points separates Saracens in fourth from Bristol Bears in seventh and the Women in Black get the weekend underway when they travel to sixth-place Sale Sharks on Saturday afternoon.

The visitors boast a fleet of internationals including England quartet Marlie Packer, Poppy Cleall, Zoe Harrison and Sarah McKenna.

And their Scottish duo of Lou McMillan and Coreen Grant will also start against compatriots Rachel McLachlan and Sarah Law for Sharks.

An hour later, at 3pm, Worcester Warriors in fifth could put pressure on Sarries above them if Lydia Thompson and co can get the better of Bristol Bears’ world class front row of Gwenllian Pyrs, Lark Davies and Sarah Bern.

Finally at 5pm, DMP Sharks and Wasps will hope to jumpstart their respective seasons and get their first points on the board.

Thistles out to avenge dramatic defeat

The best Scottish and Welsh young talent will continue their bid to win the inaugural Celtic Challenge on Saturday afternoon.

At the halfway stage of the competition designed to offer Ireland, Wales and Scotland hopefuls a pathway into the senior squad, the Combined Provinces XV top the table with two wins from two.

The Welsh Development XV could join them if they can repeat their dramatic 29-27 victory over the Thistles on the opening day.

Teenage winger Francesca McGhie crossed twice at Scotstoun Stadium, but it was Ffion Owens’ last-gasp try that sealed the victory for the visitors.