The heartbreak of losing consecutive finals may have been crushing, but Harlequins wing Jess Breach believes her side can learn valuable lessons from their defeats heading into the third edition of the Tyrrells Premier 15s season this weekend.
Quins went down to Sarah McKenna’s Saracens on both occasions in the climax of the competition, starting the game slowly to leave themselves too much to do and agonisingly short of a maiden triumph.
Karen Findlay’s side are set to host a rejuvenated Richmond at Twickenham Stoop this weekend, kicking off their campaign against a team who strengthened considerably over the summer and are eager to improve on their seventh-place finish last term.
And having experienced the pain of losing two finals, Breach believes Quins are now better-placed to deal with adversity and capable of toppling Sarries’ Premier 15s hegemony.
“It was a big heartbreak for us losing the last two finals,” the 21-year-old speedster said.
“I don’t think our preparation was the best for them – we need to start performing in the first-half a lot better and getting ahead more as we’ve left ourselves too much to do in the second.
💪 Game faces on!— Harlequins Women 🃏 (@HarlequinsWomen) September 16, 2019
🏉 We begin our 2019/20 @Tyrrells @Premier15s campaign at The Stoop on Saturday afternoon against our famous rivals @RichmondFC1861 (kick-off: 14:00)!
🎟️ Head to https://t.co/5diyp6cvjz and secure your seat today! #COYQ pic.twitter.com/isY6YXfPef
“Playing Richmond is always tough – they’re our local rivals so it’s going to be a tough game.
“They’ve had a good pre-season and brought in players but hopefully we’ve just had a better pre-season.
“Everyone is going to play a role for us – preparations have been going really well and it’s been a hard but good summer.
“We’re all raring to go now and we just want to put into practice what we’ve been working on in training.”
Breach is currently one of Quins' prized assets, scoring a remarkable 11 tries in her first two England appearances against Canada as the Red Roses romped to emphatic victories.
With the advent of the Premier 15s looming, Breach will be seeking to translate her prolific form on the international stage – she also scored a double against France in this year’s Grand Slam-winning Six Nations campaign – into the domestic game.
And as women’s rugby continues to grow in popularity, she hopes her try-scoring exploits will become more visible for supporters to see around the country.
“The growth of women’s rugby has been incredible to be a part of – getting big crowds in are key to how we are going to grow the sport,” she added.
“I think it’s key for the league to keep growing and become one of the most competitive in world rugby.
“We need to keep making it more visual and accessible for people coming to watch and see the sport, and I think playing at Twickenham Stoop every week will help that.
“We need to keep being in the public eye – we need to be welcoming and that’s really important for people to watch us.
“If we keep getting bigger crowds and getting more of an audience, hopefully women’s rugby can definitely try and replicate the success of women’s football and the FA WSL.”