​Women’s Tennent’s Premiership Finals are just one game away | Semi-final Preview

​Women’s Tennent’s Premiership Finals are just one game away | Semi-final Preview

The Women’s Tennent’s Premiership league reaches a pivotal point this weekend (January 15) as the Play-off rounds of the competition commence.

Battling it out for place in the Finals are Watsonians, Stirling County, Hillhead Jordanhill and Corstorphine Cougars.

At the end of the 10 rounds of competition Watsonians finished top of the table with 33 points, followed closely by Hillhead Jordanhill who secured 32 points. Just four points separated Cougars and Stirling with 30 and 26 points respectively.

​Watsonians v Stirling County KO 1.30pm - Myreside

A bonus point win in their fixture against Heriot’s Blues in Round 6 saw Watsonians secure the points they needed to overtake Hillhead Jordanhill in the league standings.

Hosting Stirling County at their home ground of Myreside, Watsonians will be seeking retribution from Round 5 of the competition which saw County comfortably win a bonus point with a 48-19 score.

Talking about their preparations for the semi-final, Captain Alice King said: “Training this week and last has been going down well and I am feeling confident ahead of this week’s big game. The break over Christmas has felt like no time at all and the lassies have picked up from where we left off.

“I’m so proud of how far we have come this season. We are all performing great as a team as well as every player being fitter, stronger and enjoying doing what we all love.

“This season really has been anyone’s game. It’s been an interesting and competitive season. Stirling will have a strong team so it will be a tough and exciting battle.”

Stirling come into the semi-finals in fourth place, with four wins and five losses in the league this season. They will travel to Myreside with confidence, knowing they defeated their hosts in Round 5.

A 39-17 win against Heriot’s Blues in Round 9 confirmed Stirling’s place in the semi-finals.

Captain Ailsa Kane said: “As a team we are really excited for a chance to play in the play-offs especially after a really tough season.

“The preparation has been a little disjointed due to injuries and Christmas, but we have had some really good training sessions and an internal game to start off the year and to help us prepare.

“I think as a team with a lot of new and young players, we continue to develop and improve with every game that we play.

“For the game itself, Watsonians are a very good team and every game we play against them is extremely physical but for me those are always the best games to play.”

Stirling County, placed four after ten Rounds of league competition face Watsonians in the Semi-final (Photo credit: Bryan Robertson)

​Hillhead Jordanhill v Corstorphine Cougars KO 1.30pm – Hughenden Road

Glasgow based Hillhead Jordanhill will host Cougars at Hughenden Road in their semi-final fixture.

The two sides previously met in Rounds 5 of the competition, where the visitors secured a narrow 5-11 victory.

Reflecting on the season so far, Vice Captain Debbie Lee said: “We felt like we were improving as a team week-on-week during the rounds of the league, it’s been such a close competition this season, so every game was really important.

“In preparation for this weekend we’ve kept our conditioning up over festive period and had a good few weeks of training to get ready. This semi-final is two years in the making because of Covid-19, so we obviously want to go out there and do our best, but we also want to have fun as a team and really enjoy it because that’s when we play our best.”

Head Coach, Aird Jardine added: “I am genuinely excited to see the squad play again. They have grown as a team massively as well this season. With every game being so competitive the girls have had to dig deep and ask a lot of each other to get results, and that has brought them closer to each on a personal level as well.

“With so much going on outside of rugby with everything I hope Saturday shows the positive impact sport can have on individuals and how it can bring the best out of people even in tough times.”

Cougars enjoyed a solid start to their league campaign with five wins on the bounce in the first half of the season, before being beaten 27-12 by Stirling County in Round 6 of the competition.

Full-back, Kiyomi Honjigawa was a significant component of that success, racking up 85 points for the Edinburgh side this season in eight tries, five penalties and 15 conversions, equating nearly half of the team’s points tally.

Speaking to Scottishrugby.org, Cougars Captain Emma Turner: “We’re really looking forward to the semi-final against Hillhead. We know it won’t be easy, but we are raring to go!

“It’s been a few years since we made it to the semi-finals, so it just shows that all the hard work we are doing at training is paying off and I’m so proud of the team. It should be a great game of rugby.

“We had a brilliant start to the season so we’re looking to get that momentum back and finish strong. The girl’s effort and commitment has been outstanding so hopefully it pays off and we get the win.”

Kiyomi Honjigawa kicks for a penalty at Union Park (Photo Credit: 2S Photography)

​Fifth & Sixth Place Play-off

Heriot’s Blues and Cartha Queen’s Park will compete to decide fifth and sixth place in the standings.

The fixture had originally been scheduled for Saturday 15 January, but due to covid-19 it has been postponed. The fixture will be rescheduled to an alternative date.

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