- Free entry on Sunday at Sixways Stadium
- Third place play-off: Lichfield v Saracens (kick-off 1pm)
- Final: Bristol v Aylesford Bulls (kick-off 3pm)
- The final will be livestreamed on EnglandRugby.com and England Rugby Facebook
The winner of the 2016/17 Women’s Premiership will be crowned this Sunday with Bristol and Aylesford Bulls going head-to-head at Sixways Stadium (kick-off 3pm).
Despite Bristol finishing top of the regular season table this term with 12 wins from 14 matches, neither side has come close to winning before and would have been seen as lesser-fancied contenders for the title at the start of the season.
Aylesford Bulls lifted the Women’s Cup earlier this month and will be looking to achieve the double having ended the regular season in third place.
The third place play-off will also take place on Sunday with Lichfield facing Saracens as a pre-curser to the main event, with kick-off at 1pm.
Breaking new ground
Bristol advanced to the final with a 43-10 win over Saracens on 9 April, thanks to try doubles from Poppy Cleall and Claire Molloy.
Lock Kayleigh Armstrong went over for her first try for Bristol in the match, which means the club now has 31 points’ scorers in the league, more than any other team.
Yet this is the first time the West Country side have been involved in the play-off stages and they are certain to finish above their highest league position to date of third in 2013/14.
Head Coach Roy Davies revealed the buzz around the squad ahead of their first ever Women’s Premiership final, saying:
“It’s an exciting time for us, we haven’t been in the final of this competition before so it’s a new experience for everyone.
“We have exceeded expectations, as at the start of the season we didn’t come out and say we wanted to win the Women’s Premiership, we just wanted improvements.
“It would mean a lot to everyone at this club to win this competition. The players have really bought into what we’re trying to do here and I’m really proud of them.”
Can Aylesford Bulls win the double?
Aylesford Bulls progressed to the final with a determined 22-15 win over Lichfield at Cooke Fields, with back Jess Wooden scoring 12 points.
Before this season, the Bulls’ highest finish in the league was eighth, however thanks to an influx of new players and a new coaching team of Gary Street and Karen Findlay, the club’s fortunes have been transformed.
Captain and England centre Rachael Burford said: “You always want to win games and play well, and at the start of the season we had ambitions to get into the play-offs.
“However we had a fairly new squad that was coming together and trying to click.
“Everyone has played their part in this run to the final. We have worked hard to get here and we deserve it."
Honours even so far this season
Bristol and Aylesford Bulls have faced each other twice this campaign, with both sides registering one win each at their home grounds.
In September, Bristol emerged victorious 42-3 at Cleve RFC, while the Bulls won the second encounter 51-5 at Surrey Sports Park.
Bristol captain Amber Reed believes the score line will be much tighter than either of those two games at a neutral ground in Sixways Stadium.
“We have played each other twice in the league this season and we’ve won one match each, but both sides had players missing on international duty or through injury," she said.
“It’s going to be a really good match up against two evenly balanced sides. Whichever team makes the best decisions and executes them will win.”
Third place play-off
In the third place play-off Lichfield face Saracens with the prospect of matching their highest finish of third.
Lichfield head coach Richard Bennett insists his side want to reward the loyalty their supporters’ have shown throughout the season with a performance to be proud of.
He said: "Finals day is the showcase for the Women's Premiership. This is a one-off occasion, we know it will be a tough match and our team need to show resilience and character.
“The team really wants to perform so they can say thank you to all of our supporters for their loyalty throughout the season."
Meanwhile, Saracens head coach Rob Cain insists his side is looking to build on the momentum of the last 10 minutes against Bristol in the semi-final where they scored two late tries through Lotte Clapp and Bryony Cleall.
“We’re very determined, that’s the key word,” he said. “The final 10 minutes against Bristol is how we hoped we would play the whole game. The players showed huge character to fight at the end but we were disappointed not to show up before then.
“We have to switch on from the word go this weekend, focus on ourselves and make sure we’re playing with tempo in the areas of the pitch where we want to be.”
Entry to Sixways Stadium on Sunday is free. For more information on access see here