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What to watch in women’s rugby: Pacific Four Series, PWR and more

By Martyn Thomas
OTTAWA, CANADA - JULY 14: The New Zealand Black Ferns lift the Rugby Pacific Four Series trophy after a game between Canada and the Australia Wallaroos during the World Rugby Pacific Four Series at TD Place Stadium on July 14, 2023 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Chris Tanouye - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

It promises to be a busy weekend of women’s rugby on both the domestic and international front, and you can watch it unfold with RugbyPass TV.

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Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 qualification will be decided in Madgascar as the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup 2024 draws to a close on Sunday.

On Saturday, meanwhile, Australia and USA continue their journeys towards England 2025 in the World Rugby Pacific Four Series 2024 – while Canada and New Zealand set their sights on the title.

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In Premiership Women’s Rugby (PWR), Gloucester-Hartpury put their unbeaten record on the line against Loughborough Lightning in Northampton and a Red Roses star is targeting Inter Service glory at Kingsholm.

All that action and more is available to stream live and free on RugbyPass TV.

Australia, New Zealand enter Pacific Four Series chat

All eyes will be on the World Rugby Pacific Four Series this weekend as New Zealand begin their title defence and Jo Yapp oversees her first match as Australia head coach.

The Black Ferns have never lost a Pacific Four Series match but have plenty to prove having not played since suffering two defeats and finishing fourth in WXV 1 2023 on home soil.

New Zealand director of rugby Allan Bunting has handed debuts to second-row Maama Mo’onia Vaipulu and scrum-half Maia Joseph, while uncapped fly-half Hannah King has been named on the bench, as his side chase WXV 1 2024 qualification.

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Fixture
Pacific Four Series
New Zealand Women's
57 - 5
Full-time
USA Women's
All Stats and Data

USA, who opened their 2024 Pacific Four Series campaign with a 50-7 defeat to Canada last month, need points in their bid to pip Australia to a place at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025.

The Wallaroos begin life under new coach Yapp at Allianz Stadium on Saturday and welcome back number eight Piper Duck following a frustrating year on the sidelines.

With Canada and New Zealand already guaranteed a ticket to England 2025 thanks to their performance at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021, qualification via the 2024 Pacific Four Series is a straight shootout between Australia and USA.

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Fixture
Pacific Four Series
Australia Women's
14 - 33
Full-time
Canada Women's
All Stats and Data

The top three teams in the standings at the end of the final match on 25 May will also take their place at WXV 1 in Canada this September and October. The fourth-placed team will compete in WXV 2 in South Africa.

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

Saturday, 11 May

03:05 BST (GMT+1) – New Zealand v USA, FMG Stadium – WATCH LIVE

07:55 BST (GMT+1) – Australia v Canada, Allianz Stadium – WATCH LIVE

Can Lightning strike Circus?

Premiership Women’s Rugby returns following its Women’s Six Nations hiatus this weekend with the season’s finish line rapidly coming into view.

Defending champions Gloucester-Hartpury sit on top of the standings once again following a flawless season to date in which they have racked up 13 wins from 13 matches.

With only three matches to play until the play-offs, an unbeaten regular season is a distinct possibility for the Circus. And their bid to achieve that remarkable feat takes them to Franklin’s Gardens this Sunday.

Their hosts Loughborough Lightning would need a miraculous run of results to gate-crash the play-off party, but they could yet help shape the top four with Saracens due in Northampton on the final day.

Moreover, if last season’s meeting between these sides at Franklin’s Gardens is anything to go by then Sunday could be a classic.

Gloucester-Hartpury built a 33-5 lead early in the second half last May, but were pegged back to 33-26 with seven minutes remaining before Neve Jones went over to put the gloss on a 40-26 victory.

Sunday, 12 May

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

Winner takes all in Madagascar

Hosts Madagascar head into the final round of the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup 2024 with an opportunity to make history by claiming the title and their place at England 2025.

Backed by vociferous support at Stade Makis in Antananarivo, the Lady Makis have beaten Kenya and Cameroon to ensure they will compete in WXV for the first time this September and October.

Secure a third victory in eight days, against South Africa on Sunday, and the hosts will punch their ticket to a first Women’s Rugby World Cup and ensure their place at WXV 2 2024.

However, standing in their way are the Springbok Women, who have never lost a Women’s Cup match and head into the final round having beaten Cameroon and Kenya by an aggregate score of 118-5.

A third win against the Lady Makis – having won their only two previous encounters 73-0 and 79-8 – would silence the home crowd, book a return to Women’s Rugby World Cup and set up a home WXV 2 campaign. Whoever loses will compete in WXV 3 in Dubai later this year.

Earlier on Sunday, Kenya and Cameroon will hope to finish their campaigns on a high and with their first win of the tournament when they meet in the opening match at Stade Makis.

Sunday, 12 May

11:00 BST (GMT+1) – Kenya v Cameroon, Stade Makis – WATCH LIVE

13:00 BST (GMT+1) – Madagascar v South Africa, Stade Makis – WATCH LIVE

Will the RAF upset the Army?

Fresh from helping England to a sixth successive Women’s Six Nations crown, Amy Cokayne has her sights set on hoisting yet more silverware.

The Red Roses hooker has been included in the Royal Air Force squad for the decisive Inter Service Championship encounter with the Army in Gloucester this Saturday.

Both teams head to Kingsholm with a victory against the Royal Navy under their belts meaning whoever wins this weekend will take the overall title.

The Army have dominated the women’s championship since its inception in 2003, the only year they haven’t won coming five years ago when the Air Force claimed the crown.

In the event of a draw, the Army’s margin of victory against the Navy means they would retain the title.

Saturday, 11 May

11:00 BST (GMT+1) – RAF v Army Women, Kingsholm – WATCH LIVE

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