Brown inspirational as Harlequins claim Premier 15s title

An emotional Shaunagh Brown could not hold back the tears after spearheading Harlequins to an historic league title.

An emotional Shaunagh Brown could not hold back the tears after spearheading Harlequins to an historic league title.

The England prop, who was part of the 2021 Women’s Six Nations title-winning side, enjoyed a second successive final appearance in as many months as Quins got the better of defending champions Saracens 25-17.

It was her England teammate Amy Cokayne who scored two tries for Quins, with Lagi Tuima kicking 15 points.

But Brown was deservedly named Player of the Match for her work at the breakdown and her carrying that constantly kept Saracens on the back foot.

And the enormity of the result and the occasion was apparent as she spoke after the match.

She said: “I’m crying so it must mean a lot because I don’t really cry. They are tears of happiness. My mum’s in the crowd and she wasn’t going to come and I’m so glad she did.

“As they say, third time lucky but there was no luck involved. It was hard work all season. I’m so proud of everyone and no individual should be singled out because we’re such a team and I can’t wait to be with the girls again.

“This is not just about rugby, this is not just about sport, it’s about women and women’s sport. Putting us on a platform and knowing we can do it. We have put on an international standard of rugby in front of fans. This is what rugby should be week in, week out, men or women.

“I challenge anyone to say that women’s rugby is not good enough and that women are not good enough, because we are.”

Saracens had won both of the previous finals, but quickly found themselves 11-0 down thanks to the boot of Tuima and Cokayne’s first try from a rolling maul.

Saracens hit back with a score from Marlie Packer, but Quins were in control, leading 19-7 at the break following Cokayne’s second score.

Tuima extended Quins’ lead with a penalty early in the second half, with Saracens having lost Bryony Cleall to the sin-bin.

However, Saracens came back thanks to another Packer score and when Cokayne and Abbie Ward were shown yellow cards in the space of 30 seconds, the comeback was on.

A try from Sophie de Goede made it 22-17, but Harlequins then managed their numerical disadvantage brilliantly, Tuima adding another penalty as they were able to see the game out, sparking wild celebrations.