Premier 15s: Harlequins stay above Saracens on points difference

Harlequins in Premier 15s action
Giada Franco's try gave Quins the lead in the closing stages

Harlequins lead the Premier 15s table going into the international break after maintaining their 100% start by beating Loughborough Lightning.

Lightning built a 17-point lead before Quins recorded a 36-27 win in gloomy conditions at Loughborough University.

Defending champions Saracens also made it six wins out of six as they defeated Gloucester-Hartpury 15-7.

The league resumes on 30 November and the top two teams meet for the first time this season on 14 December.

Powerful Canadian prop Daleaka Menin bundled over to give Loughborough a healthy advantage against Quins.

England's Emily Scarratt intercepted inside her own half and raced down the field under the posts for a converted try to give Lightning a 27-24 lead with less than 10 minutes remaining.

But fine work from Jess Breach along the left-hand touchline set up Giada Franco for a converted score and number eight Sarah Beckett also crossed to make the points safe for Quins.

Saracens took until the 29th minute to break the deadlock at a similarly sodden Allianz Park, but tries from Hannah Botterman and Marlie Packer helped them to a 12-7 interval lead.

Abbey Dow scored four tries as Wasps thrashed Firwood Waterloo 62-0.

Darlington Mowden Park Sharks built a 20-7 half-time advantage over bottom-of-the-table Worcester Warriors and held on for a 32-21 win.

Bristol Bears stay above them in sixth place, however, after a 26-18 victory in wind and rain at Shaftesbury Park, Daisie Mayes securing the bonus point with a strong drive to the line.

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Women's rugby correspondent Adam Zoltie at Allianz Park:

As the final league fixture of the weekend, it was imperative that both Saracens Women and Gloucester-Hartpury achieved a victory to ensure they kept up with their league rivals.

What both sides contributed was a blood-and-thunder performance, indicating that neither is giving up their play-off aspirations.

The visitors took their hosts somewhat by surprise from kick-off, matching them blow-for-blow upfront and proving they were there not there to just make up the numbers.

Even when Botterman and Packer both dotted down following Saracens line-outs, Susie Appleby's side continued to bombard their opponents' defence and were rewarded with Erica Mills' score just before the break.

The return of forward Poppy Cleall highlighted why the champions have missed her so much during her long injury lay-off. She was the catalyst for her side's second-half domination of the scrum and breakdowns.

Despite Lisa Martin's penalty to confirm their win, head coach Alex Austerberry cut a frustrated figure at the final whistle. His side may have ground out four points, but it was not the display which will have their nearest rivals quaking in their boots.

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