Domestic weekend preview as rivalries take centre stage

Header image
Rivalries and international stars return to the limelight in an exciting weekend of domestic action.

Rivalries and international stars return to the limelight in an exciting weekend of domestic action.

One of rugby’s biggest rivalries takes London by storm as Saracens take on Harlequins in the Allianz Premier 15s in a battle for third.

There’s a break in the Elite 1 Féminine whilst the Eccellenza Femminile returns to action after an international break.

And the Combined Provinces XV look to continue their undefeated run in the Celtic Challenge as they take on the Welsh Development XV.

The London derby heats things up

There will be a tense London derby in the Allianz Premier 15s as Saracens welcome Harlequins to the StoneX Stadium in an all or nothing battle.

Both teams currently sit on 35 points with seven wins from 10 games and the winner of this weekend’s game will take third place in the table behind Exeter Chiefs.

Lotte Clapp and Marlie Packer will captain a Saracens side packed with international talent whilst Amy Cokayne and Abby Dow both start for Harlequins.

At the other end of the table Loughborough Lightning and Sale Sharks clash at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

Despite being boosted by a large number of England players, Loughborough have struggled to make an impact in the Premier 15s this season but will look to topple seventh-placed Sharks this weekend and extend their lead over DMP Sharks.

Italy’s best return to action

It’s second versus third in the Eccellenza Femminile as Colorno welcome Arredissima Villorba.

Villorba sit just one point behind their hosts in the table and could see a jump to second if they topple their opposition this weekend.

Aura Muzzo could return for Villorba following from her try-scoring antics last weekend against Spain whilst Veronica Madia will look to shine for Colorno.

Valsugana are comfortably top of the table with 43 points from nine games and will look to extend their lead further as they take on bottom-placed Benetton Treviso.

Ireland eye-up to Celtic Challenge victory

The Combined Provinces XV will look to continue their unbeaten run in the Celtic Challenge as they take on Welsh Development XV at Kings Stadium in Belfast.

The Welsh contingent lost 21-7 to the Scottish Thistles last weekend and will now look to overturn a devastatingly close result against the Provinces in the opening round.

The Combined Provinces XV resisted a second-half fightback from the WRU Development XV to open their Celtic Challenge account with a 27-26 win at Cardiff Arms Park.

Hannah O’Connor captains Greg McWilliams’ side with Dannah O’Brien, Aoife Dalton and Linda Djougang all named in the starting XV.

With just two games left in the challenge, a third victory for Ireland will clinch overall Celtic Challenge success.