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Time for take-off in Trailfinders Women’s Premiership debut

Trailfinders Women are set to make their highly-anticipated introduction to Premiership Women’s Rugby on Saturday, against West London rivals Harlequins Women.

Eleven months on from being confirmed as one of two new sides alongside Leicester Tigers in the revamped PWR, the Ealing-based outfit are raring to go.

Leading the newly-founded side into the season is Women’s Director of Rugby and 1994 World Cup winner with England, Giselle Mather.

Giselle Mather is steering the ship as Women's Director of Rugby.
Giselle Mather is steering the ship as Women’s Director of Rugby. Credit: Robert Brewer/Ardmawr Photography

She moved to Ealing last year after three play-off finishes in five seasons at Wasps Women, and is renowned for her exciting brand of rugby.

“We have been exceptionally busy recruiting a very exciting squad over the past few months, with eleven different nations represented in the squad,” she said.

Among the new signings are ex-Quins winger Abby Dow, recently selected in World Rugby’s Dream Team of the Year, and forward Tyson Beukeboom, three-time World Cup veteran for Canada.

Having being defeated 31-21 by Quins in Trailfinders’ historic first-ever match at Twickenham Stoop in the Allianz Cup in September, Mather is ready for revenge against the 2021-21 champions.

“I think we’ll be highly competitive this season. We’ve learned a lot about the players and different combinations during the cup, and I can’t wait for the 18th.”

Shannon Ikahihifo leads Trailfinders Women out at Twickenham Stoop in their first ever match
Shannon Ikahihifo leads Trailfinders Women out at Twickenham Stoop in their first ever match Credit: Robert Brewer/Ardmawr Photography

Mather has ensured that pathways have been reinforced with both Brunel University and Henley College, integrating England U18 players Annabel Meta and Lauren Knowler into the squad.

Lauren Brooks is all too aware of the task ahead on Saturday, with the former Quins forward now donning the green-and-white stripes of Trailfinders after a summer move.

“As such a new side, we’re trying to pin-down our style of play and set-piece in the initial games, as well as hopefully getting an early win under our belt,” she said.

Lauren Brooks in action against Harlequins.
Lauren Brooks in action against Harlequins. Credit: Robert Brewer/Ardmawr Photography

Alongside her rugby commitments, Brooks is an army reservist serving with the Royal Engineers corps, with her move across West London being eased by a few familiar faces.

“It’s nice having Courtney Pursglove at Trailfinders. She has huge potential which she showcased with her hat-trick during the Inter-Services Championship final at Twickenham last season.

“I like to think that I’m quicker than her, but maybe I’m just slightly off the mark,” she admitted.

With TNT Sports announcing a multi-year rights deal with Premiership Women’s Rugby last week, Brooks hopes that it will be a turning point for domestic women’s rugby.

The landmark agreement means that one match a weekend will be broadcast on the streaming service, accounting to over 20 games throughout the season.

“If you can’t see it, you can’t be it. Hopefully it will inspire the next generation,” she said.

Kick off is at 3pm, with tickets available on the gate.


  • William Gruffudd Thurtle

    William, 22, is a trilingual Welshman, trying to find his way in the bustling metropolis. A competitive (yet admittedly average) sportsman, William is ready to dip his hand into any sport, with a keen eye on all news leading towards the Paris 2024 Games. Rugby editor. Tennis co-editor.