Eldanielfire's mid-league break thoughts of how the teams are doin and where they at at so far in the Premier 15s League:
Worcester Valkyries: A tragically terrible season. This time last year they had a class team, but for the new league somehow they lost their entire 1st team to other sides and it shows. the list of players they lost is huge and somewhat ridiculous which suggests there must have been something a lot of players had issue with at the club and the new professional set-ups of other teams were too attractive.
Firwood Waterloo: The newbies. Like Worcester they have not won a game yet, but they give every side a big physical battle and always seem to be credited as competitive from their opponents.
Richmond Womens Rugby: had a bright start but faded badly. Like Worcester they lost a lot of players to other sides, mainly Harlequins. Still have a big scrum but lack quality in the backs and in defense. Sadly had 5 point deducted for fielding an unregistered player. Gaelle Mignot joined the side to find out why English Rugby is so successful, I'm not sure she joined the right club for that, but Richmond are always a club people love playing for and love the culture and characters and they always have great team spirit.
DMP Sharks: Doing alright, getting more competitive as the season goes on. They have a new stars but very little depth, but like Waterloo they give every team a battle. Another team to lose some excellent players, like Abbie Scott to Harlequins, that stunts their ability to challenge for now and it doesn't help when they lose their England players like Taylor and McLean as they lack the depth of other teams. But with great young talents like Jo Brown and Rachel Woosey shows they have young talent build around as well.
Loughborough Lightning: The team usually blamed for Litchfield Ladies being rejected from the new super league. The politics in their favour, nor the addition of England Captain Sarah Hunter hasn't really made them much of anything, though a good scrum and a fair bit of decent youth talent may mean their future is bright, but they have got a long way to go to be a worthy successor to Litchfield Ladies, even if they now seem set to occupy the top half.
Gloucester-Hartpury Women: Flying high early on but a bit patchy in the past few months. A team of some good rugby brains, but with a lack of pace and power across the side but some very, very good youth in the side means they can continue to get better. But they have a few really superb players in the likes of Killdunne, Bern and the 10-12 axis of Large and Goddard, but they don't have much depth when they miss a key player. Will likely challenge Bristol or Wasps for a top 4 spot. There's an element where they are in no-mans land, too good for most of the league but not showing they can give the top 3 a challenge. The difference being they probably need more power in their forwards despite Sarah Bern being one of the most physical forwards in England.
Bristol Ladies: Had a bit of a bad month in November after the loss to Harlequins but a change of head coach has seem them return to form and should be contending for a top 4 spot. Mostly down to a great set of backs and a gritty forward pack. Their future seems bright as they seem to be the natural next step from Exeter Uni's excellent rugby program and have some brilliant young players like Tuima, Attwood, Gregson among others and a strong contingent of Welsh and Irish players in Phillips, Molloy and Snowsill. Though the loss of Packer and Cleall to Saracens and Hunter to "Luffbur" certainly would impact any team, that is basically England's first choice backrow afterall, but Bristol is stiil a very, very strong side, likely top 4 side and dark horses with Reed and Noel-Smith leading the team forward.
Wasps Ladies: IMO Wasps are the biggest winners from Litchfield's reaction to the league ad the exedos from Worcester. They gained Rocky Clark, Amy Cokayne, Justine Lucas, Harriet Millar-Mills and Danielle Waterman after the season started. They also recruited from the military and have some fab youth players in Abby Dow. It's taken a little while to gel but they are getting there. They don't seem quite ready to challenge the top 2 yet but with Gis
Harlequins Ladies: Despite being caught out by Saracens a few weeks ago, Harlequins can probably claim to be player for player the best side in the league. They score the most tries, have a near perfect blend of experience and youth, a powerful pack, a great lineout and maul and tons of threats in attack ready to be released by Rachel Burford probably the best all round back in the game. Bradshaw, Myers, Cowell, Wooden and of course Jess Breech must make the most set of wingers and fullbacks for any club ever in the women's game. Lots of credit have to be given to Harlequins who have made big efforts to promote the women, probably the most out of nay women's side, often showing them side by side with their men and initiaves that encourage tons of fans to stay after the game the other week. Also applauded their ambitions to get the biggest ever audience for a women's game against Richmond. The only blemish to their season is the game where they were exposed as slight less streetwise and clever as:
Saracens Women: Top of the league. A dominate forward pack and what's shocking they probably have the youngest and brightest squad in the league stacked full of England players, new England players and future England players so they can get better without even recruiting again. Which is scary. They have a strong scrum, a fantastic driving maul and player who from 1 to 15 seem to know exactly how to boss the rucks. They are also powerful and mobile too. Obviously getting Poppy Cleall back and Marley Packer with her was the coup of the year for any team not named Wasps. But it's their youth like Harrison, Clapp, Rowland, Wardle, Perry, Botterman, Austin and Galligan among others all playing like they are experienced classy England players already despite being mostly in their 20's or teenagers.