Women’s Premiership Preview | Saturday 9 December
The Women’s Premiership is drawing to a close as teams fulfil rescheduled matches postponed by adverse weather. This weekend, it’s a battle between our two freshest faces to the league, and a capital clash. Find out more in Scottish Rugby’s preview.
Garioch v Stewartry Sirens – Kellands Park, KO 2pm
Garioch and Stewartry face off this weekend in a must-win game for both sides as they look to extend their chances of staying in next year’s Premiership league.
These sides have a very competitive history against one another.
In the 2021/22 season, Garioch won promotion into the Premiership for the first time, beating Stewartry 19-10 in the National Division 1 play-off final. And, in their previous meeting this season, the Sirens managed to claim the victory in the final minutes of the game, 32-29.
Looking at the current the table standings, Garioch sit in eighth place with four points whilst the Sirens sneak ahead into seventh place with five. After this match, Garioch and Stewartry will only have one further opportunity to secure vital league points, with clashes against Cartha and Stirling respectively.
The team finishing eighth in the Women’s Premiership shall, along with the teams finishing in first place in each Regional League Division 1, face-off on a home and away basis in the Regional Play-off series to determine which team moves into next season’s Premiership.
Ahead of this weekend’s contest, Sammy Ross, captain at Garioch, said: “We were absolutely gutted to have our game against Cartha cancelled due to weather last weekend, despite trying everything we could to ensure the game went ahead.
“We’ve been really fortunate that for these last few games of season we’ve had the strongest and largest availability we could hope for, so it’s been really disappointing to not get to showcase that.
“We’re hopeful that this weekend’s game against Stewartry can go ahead. We know how big of a game this is for both sides with it being so close last time and the game being won in the last few plays of the game. Ultimately, we can’t wait to get out there and play some rugby after some time off.”
Siren’s Interim Head Coach, Ali Lamb said: “The two newest teams in the Premiership facing off in what could be a season decider for both of them. Garioch have put in some impressive performances over the season however Sirens held on for the win at home, despite a strong second half performance from Garioch.
“The exciting thing is that these are two teams bringing new talent into Scottish women’s rugby from outside the big population centres, that can only be a good thing.”
Watsonian FC v Corstorphine Cougars – Myreside, KO 2pm
Finally, we have a capital city clash as Cougars make the short trip to Myreside to take on Watsonians.
In their previous meeting this season, Watsonians emerged victors from Union Park, 13-21.
Whilst the final score won’t affect the table standings for either side, Watsonians will be eager to wrap up their season on an unbeaten run ahead of next weekend’s final against Stirling County, whilst Cougars will be equally determined to end their season on a high with a win against the league leaders.
Watsonian’s Head Coach, Bruce Millar, has made some exciting changes to his line-up for the weekend, saying: “We have a few players unavailable due to it being a planned week off, so Shannon Macey switches to scrum half and Molly Poolman moves to Number 8.
“This is the ideal game a week before the Final and we’ll need to be at our best against a Cougars side who don’t concede a lot of points and are always very hard to beat.”
Eric Jones, Head Coach of the Cougars has also made a series of changes to his line-up. He said: “We’re looking to finish of what has been a frustrating league season in a positive fashion this weekend against Watsons. They’ll be keen to not lose at home to us, so we’re expecting the usual tough match against them ahead of their Final the following week. They’ll also be buoyed by the return of a number of their squad from Dubai that wouldn’t have been available last week as well.
“Our pack remains fairly consistent although captain, Emma Turner, isn’t available this weekend which gives Caitlan Hadley the start in the second row. Our back row of Merryn Gunderson, Alex Stewart and Lucy Kidd – who have been outstanding each week – remains unchanged.
“Hannah Ramsay starts at stand-off with Tanya Griffith outside her. Bekah Douglas will start on the wing with Pip Benson on the other and Kiyomi Honjigawa returns to the 15 jersey.
“Katie Weighill comes on to the bench to potentially join her Liberton High School teammates, Morgan Welsh and Alex Stewart, in playing at Premiership level.”