The question around the grounds this week could only ever be who do you think will win this Saturday?In search of a prediction, we turn to the stats to see if they will offer up any answers.
Watching my Richmond team mates interviewed, they ummed, ahhed and hedged, not wanting to name a favourite for the weekend. It was much the same on Twitter, outside the club loyalists, few are willing to take a punt and tell you who they think will be coming home with the silverware.
So I thought, what the hey, I’m a Kiwi with no allegiances and even less of a clue, so why not throw my two cents in?
Still with me? Good. Armed with the Women’s Club Rugby diligently curated stats*, I’m going to take a look and see if the numbers can pick us a winner Saturday.
ROUND 1 – Points Table
I’m not sure if you noticed but the Saracens are a good team. And by good, I mean 94% winning percentage for the season good. They’ve only dropped one match this season, a close fought battle with the Harlequins. And if the Saracens are good, the Harlequins must be at least pretty good, they have a winning percentage of 83% with 15 wins, 2 losses and a draw for their efforts.
94%>83% though, so round 1 is for the Saracens
Saracens 1 – Harlequins – 0
ROUND 2 – Playoff performance
Ranked number 1 and 2 in the Premier 15s, they looked every bit the part last weekend. Any hopes of a Loughborough v Wasps final (sorry to super fans; Katie, Ash and your mums) were promptly dashed with convincing victories. I can’t say more than that because I have to admit I actually didn’t watch the games. I know, I’m terrible but Berlin is lovely at this time of year!
That said, I’m going to call it even. 1 point a piece.
Saracens 2 – Harlequins – 1
ROUND 3 – Top 10 Try Scorers
Both sides have been try scoring machines this season. And while those tries have come from around the park, a few have been standouts that have made it to the top 10 try scorers this season.
Georgie Lingham (17), Bryony Cleall (13) and Charlotte Clap (12), all don’t like to pass and scored 42 tries between them. I kid ladies, I know your support lines just weren’t quick enough!
Heather Cowell (20) and Jade Konkel (11) have been immense, not far behind on 31 tries. 20 tries is ridiculous, can we all just take a moment to acknowledge that.
42>31 it’s another round for the Sarries.
Saracens 3 – Harlequins – 1
ROUND 4 – Top ten kickers
We are talking from the tee not around the ground on this one. No doubt that tactical kicking is a factor and with scoring from crossfields on the rise (I’m looking at you Katy Daley-McLean) I’m sorry I can’t give this to you.
Top of the pops is Ellie Green. She’s had plenty of chances with Harlequins scoring the most tries this season and Ellie has made few mistakes. When Ellie hasn’t been available, Emily Scott has slotted more than a couple and is ranked 7th on the top 10 list.
Saracens’ Lauren Cattell ranked 5th on this list has been a solid performer.
2>1 this round goes to the ‘Quins.
Saracens 3 – Harlequins 2
ROUND 5 – Top 10 Point Scorers
Unsurprisingly after featuring in round 3 & 4, we have Ellie Green and Emily Scott’s boots as well as the unstoppable Heather Cowell.
Top try scorer Georgie Lingham features for Saracens.
3>1 it’s a late surge by the Harlequins.
Saracens 3 – Harlequins 3
EXTRA TIME – When to strike
So at this point, I hope to have painted a picture of the seasons as a whole. But what about the match at hand?
When we look at tries scored and conceded by these teams, both at home and away, we start to build a picture of where the opportunities might be on offer.
Statistics say it’ll be a tight opening 20, with the edge going to the Harlequins who generally cross the line early. Saracens, if they weather this storm, will have an opportunity to finish the half out strongly. Chances are this may be through Harlequins mistakes, exacerbated by Saracens relentless consistency.
Harlequins will be in trouble just after the half as they enter the 20 minute period where they have conceded the most points this season. Fortuitously for Saracens, this weak period of defence coincides with the period where they have scored the most tries, 34 and counting.
But just when you thought I was going to predict a Saracens victory, the stats then reverse for the final 20 as Harlequins become their most lethal and Saracens their most leaky.
So what does it all mean for Saturday? Well once again, we have the two most impressive teams, statistically speaking, squaring up for the final show down. You can expect drama, you can expect hits, you can expect tries and as always with a final, you can expect the unexpected.
I’m going to go with the old cliche and say rugby will be the winner on the day. As we all are for being a part of a competition that is going from strength to strength.You’re onto a bloody good thing and it’s been awesome to see such a growth in the skill on display in two seasons. You’ll have another two of these before we host you back home in Aotearoa and New Zealand is going to have to sharpen their tools to keep pace with this development.
Lastly, to the players I say, enjoy the day. Very few of us ever have the privilege of making it this far. Leave it all on the field and you’ll be happy when the final whistle comes.
FINAL PREDICTION – Winner will be English Women’s Rugby
*”I cannot sole claim responsibility for these stats, as they were kindly sent over by Charlotte Trusson at the RFU” – Max.