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What to watch in women’s rugby: England 2025 qualification, SVNS silverware on the line

By Martyn Thomas
Jorja Miller #83, Jazmin Felix-Hotham #13 and Michaela Blyde #6 of New Zealand celebrate after defeating Australia in the women's cup final during day three of the HSBC SVNS Singapore at the National Stadium on May 05, 2024 in Singapore. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

It’s another busy week on RugbyPass TV, where Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 qualification and HSBC SVNS 2024 glory will be decided, and the Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby (PWR) regular season draws to a close.

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The Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship continues on Wednesday and concludes on Sunday with an expected shootout between defending champions Samoa and Fiji for a place at England 2025.

Whoever finishes the tournament in the top two will play WXV 3 rugby in Dubai this September and October, and that is also the prize on offer for Hong Kong China and Kazakhstan this Saturday.

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Meanwhile, Loughborough Lightning welcome Saracens to Franklin’s Gardens on Sunday hoping to pop the perennial champions’ bubble as the north Londoners attempt to maintain their momentum ahead of the PWR semi-finals.

All of that action, and more, will be available to stream live and for free on RugbyPass TV.

Can Lightning strike Sarries?

Saracens continue their preparations for the PWR semi-finals and help to bring the curtain down on the regular season, when they travel to Loughborough Lightning on Sunday.

Both teams head into the match knowing they will finish the day exactly where they start it but that does not mean there is nothing to play for at Franklin’s Gardens.

Saracens struck a potentially sizeable psychological blow last Saturday as they edged a 64-point thriller against champions Gloucester-Hartpury.

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That victory secured a home semi-final for Alex Austerberry’s side and they will be keen to continue their preparations for the play-offs with another win this weekend.

Austerberry welcomed back the club’s North American contingent for that win, Canada front row McKinley Hunt marking her return to England with a try.

With Zoe Harrison hitting top gear and the likes of Jess Breach, Georgia Evans and Marlie Packer all on form, the addition of Hunt, Lotte Clapp, Sophie de Goede and Paige Farries must be a frightening prospect.

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Yet, Lightning will want to finish their season on a high and have the opportunity to prove they are the best of the rest.

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Although fifth-placed Loughborough head into the final weekend 15 points adrift of Exeter Chiefs above them, they possess several exciting players, Emily Scarratt, Sadia Kabeya and Chloe Rollie chief among them.

None of that trio will want to take a backward step on their home turf, which should make Sunday’s meeting one to savour.

All the action is available to stream for free via RugbyPass TV except where there is a local broadcast deal in place (UK, Ireland, Canada and USA).

Sunday, 2 June

15:00 BST (GMT+1) – Loughborough Lightning v Saracens, Franklin’s Gardens – WATCH LIVE HERE

Samoa, Fiji vie for ticket to England

Japan became the eighth team to confirm their appearance at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 this week, and they will be joined by a ninth come Sunday.

The Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship 2024 is set to continue this Wednesday when Fiji take on Papua New Guinea before Samoa play Tonga in Brisbane.

Defending champions Samoa did not take part in round one following the cancellation of their match against Papua New Guinea.

It means there is added significance to their encounter with Tonga, as they must win to prolong their Women’s RWC 2025 hopes until their showdown with Fiji on Sunday.

The Pacific Island nations have only met five times previously, but Samoa have won each of those matches against Tonga and ran out 69-5 victors in the corresponding fixture last year.

Meanwhile, Fiji beat Papua New Guinea 77-0 12 months ago and will be expected to win again at Sunnybank Rugby Club on Wednesday.

Should those two matches go with the form book then the tournament finale between Samoa and Fiji will become a winner-takes-all clash, with the victor booking their ticket to England 2025.

Whoever finishes the Women’s Championship in the top two will both play in WXV 3 this September and October.

Meanwhile, the Asia Rugby Women’s Championship 2024 will conclude on Saturday as hosts Hong Kong China take on Kazakhstan for a place in WXV 3.

Kazakhstan edged a tight affair 27-23 in Almaty last year, but Hong Kong will hope that home advantage proves decisive this weekend.

All the action from Brisbane and Hong Kong is available to stream live and for free worldwide on RugbyPass TV.

Wednesday, 29 May

08:30 BST (GMT+1) – Fiji v Papua New Guinea, Sunnybank Rugby Club – WATCH LIVE HERE

10:30 BST (GMT+1) – Samoa v Tonga, Sunnybank Rugby Club – WATCH HERE LIVE

Saturday, 1 June

11:30 BST (GMT+1) – Hong Kong China v Kazakhstan, Hong Kong Football Club – WATCH LIVE HERE

Sunday, 2 June

05:00 BST (GMT+1) – Tonga v Papua New Guinea, Sunnybank Rugby Club – WATCH LIVE HERE

07:00 BST (GMT+1) – Samoa v Fiji, Sunnybank Rugby Club – WATCH LIVE HERE

All eyes on SVNS Grand Final

Following seven tournaments and a global tour that started in Dubai last December, HSBC SVNS 2024 will draw to a close in Madrid this weekend.

Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano will play host to three days of scintillating rugby sevens as the overall series champions are decided in a winner-takes-all eight-team tournament.

Adding to the excitement in the Spanish capital, a further eight teams will compete for the final four places in next year’s series in the HSBC SVNS Play-off tournament.

New Zealand head to Madrid as the form team in the women’s series, having won four tournaments in a row to overhaul their fierce rivals Australia and claim the League Winners title.

A fifth successive gold medal would ensure they finish the season as overall champions, but they will face stiff competition from USA, Canada and Great Britain in Pool A.

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Regular season runners-up Australia, meanwhile, will take on France, Fiji and Ireland for a place in the Grand Final Cup semi-finals.

The eight teams competing in the promotion-relegation tournament have also been split into two pools.

World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger winners China will play Japan, Spain and Poland in the pool stage, while Brazil, South Africa, Argentina and Belgium complete the line-up in the opposite group.

At the end of the qualifier pool stage, the teams will be ranked from one to eight and drawn to contest one-off play-offs for a place in HSBC SVNS 2025.

All the action from Madrid will be available to stream live and for free in the UK, Ireland, France, Japan and the USA. Viewers will be able to select a French language commentary option.

HSBC SVNS MAD

Day one – WATCH LIVE HERE

Day two – WATCH LIVE HERE

Day three – WATCH LIVE HERE

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Turlough 8 minutes ago
'Let them keep talking' - Mike Catt claps back over Bok remarks

“You want that – not hatred – but whatever it is that stirs it all up. It’s good.” Agree with this. If you can put a common motivating idea in all your players heads during a game it can produce a real Team perfromance. Erasmus is pretty expert at this. It is quite clear that the comments by Etzebeth, Allende and others were not coincidence and were actioned to create animoisty before the series in order to galvanise the South African mind set. While I understand it, I don’t like it. They result in unnessary vitriol between supporters and for what? I don’t think any of the SA players seriously believe any of these claims and with Ireland ignoring them Erasmus won’t get the escalation he seeks. The vitriol shown by some SA and indeed NZ supporters is extremely weird for NH supporters (OK, maybe England have felt it) but it just feels very odd over a sport. Ireland were more or less sh1t for the first 100 years of their rugby, they have improved significantly in the last 25 to be in a position around now (it may not last) to go into a match with the big guns with a real shot of winning. The reaction to this from some SH supporters has been bizarre with conspiracy theories of ‘Arrogance’ fueling abuse from supporters and even NZ players to Irish crowds during the world cup. I love International rugby and the comraderie between supporters. I genuinely dread and dislike the atmosphere around games with the southern giants. They take this very personally. NH teams: play them, try and beat them, enjoy the craic with their players and supporters and wish them well. SH teams wish them well and they call you arrogant in the press months later. Its just a matter of try and beat them and then good riddance til the next time.

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