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Sioned Harries

Sioned Harries in action for Worcester

Harries checking out title candidates in Premier15s

Sioned Harries will be in a good position to judge which are the best teams in the Allianz Premier15s in a few weeks time after her Worcester Warriors team follow up their clash with reigning champions Harlequins with games against the other three semi-finalists from last season.

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The Warriors came out of their opening home game of the season against the Quins with a try bonus point, yet still went down to a 66-31 defeat. Harries scored a try in their 29-24 win at Sale Sharks in the first round.

This weekend they head to Wasps and then host last season’s runners-up, Saracens, before facing a trip to Loughborough Lightning. That will complete a round of game against last season’s top four and give her a chance to assess where the Warriors stand.

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“It is definitely going to be a busy three weeks and it will give us a real chance to see where we stand. The standard of this league keeps on rising,” said the Wales international and No 8.

“While we picked up a bonus-point against Quins, we were disappointed to conceded 10 tries and 66 points. We learned some harsh lessons and we hope to put things right against Wasps.

“It is too early to say which team is going to win this season, but I do expect the top few teams to face stiffer challenges this season. Bristol Bears have recruited well, Exeter Chiefs are stronger this season than last and we feel we are improving as well.”

There are seven Welsh players at Worcester, with Liza Burgess now fully ensconced there as the forwards coach. They have also been getting some specialist coaching from the Warriors men’s team.

A teacher in Port Talbot, Harries is in her third season at the Warriors and remains one of their most consistent performers and one of the first names on the team sheet. Her 11 tries last season made her the eighth highest scorer in the league, just one behind Jasmine Joyce.

With 59 Welsh caps behind her, as well as a game as the national team captain and a trip to the Commonwealth games, she is refusing to give up on a chance of a recall ahead of next year’s World Cup in New Zealand. ‘Never say never’ is her motto.

“I used to love playing in Wales at Whitland, but the last three years at the Warriors have been great. I got used to the travelling and it is a great league in which to play,” said the woman who can drive as many as 800 miles in a week to attend two training sessions and a game.

Callender and Phillips join her in the pack to take on Wasps and Ffion Lewis is on the bench for the Warriors. Beth Dainton is among the Quins replacements for their home game with Exeter Chiefs.

Wales hooker Kelsey Jones continues in the back row for Gloucester-Hartpury for their trip to Sale Sharks. Robyn Wilkins starts at No 10 for the visitors.

Donna Rose and Georgia Evans both start in the Saracens front five for their home game against Loughborough, the side they beat in an epic semi-final last season.

Wales skipper Siwan Lillicrap drops to the bench for Bristol Bears for their home clash with bottom of the table DMP Durham Sharks. Welsh duo Alisha Butchers and Manon Johnes remain in the back row and Keira Bevan partners Elinor Snowshill at half-back.

“We’ve started well by winning two games that potentially we wouldn’t have won last season. That has put us in good place,” said scrum half Bevan.

“We’re hoping for another good performance against Durham before we get a week off. I’m just concentrating on doing my job and finding my feet again in what is a very tough league.

“Durham have got better of us in the last couple of seasons, so it would be silly to think it will be an easy game just because they’re down the bottom. They’ve got some really good players.

ALLIANZ PREMIER15S
Saturday, 18 September

Bristol Bears v DMP Durham Sharks
Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs
Sale Sharks v Gloucester-Hartpury
Saracens v Loughborough Lightning
Wasps v Worcester Warriors

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