Rhys Edwards reckons it’s about time Loughborough Lightning crashed the Harlequins and Saracens Allianz Premier 15s party.

Lightning finished fourth in the table last season – qualifying for the semi-finals via the final play-off spot – before suffering a gut-wrenching defeat against Saracens with a spot in the final looming.

Sarries triumphed 28-24 in North London before going on to lose 25-17 in the showpiece against resurgent Quins at Kingsholm.

Saracens and Harlequins have contested every Premier 15s final since the advent of the competition and Edwards, whose side travel to the Stoop to take on Quins in a mouth-watering opener on Saturday, says it’s high time Lightning dined on the top table too.

He said: “We do want to make sure we go that one step further.

“We’ve been pretty good in terms of our games with Sarries and Quins when we’ve beaten them in the league.

“For us to go that one step further we need to be consistent with our selections and consistency with our skills in games – that’s probably the bit where we’ve lacked in the last couple of seasons.

“I thought we were unlucky in that semi-final and that it came down to small margins so it’s a chance for us to get back in and start learning pretty quickly.

“We know where we are and we’re looking forward to an opportunity to do it again this year.

“We’re competitive by nature because we’ve got some of the world’s best players.

“We want to be successful and win but it’s not just about a win at all costs mentality with us – we’re pretty proud of our track record of developing young players as well.”

The Allianz Premier 15s is the elite women’s domestic rugby union competition in England and having been won by high-flying Harlequins last season, continues to grow year on year.

The Premier 15s will once again be played over 18 rounds, culminating with play-offs (21 May 2022) and a title final (4 June 2022, venue TBC).  

With no promotion or relegation, there are no changes to the 10 teams within England’s top-flight of women’s domestic rugby, operating in a league format with home and away fixtures. 

Lightning players – current and former – boast a bulging presence at this summer’s Olympic Games as Team GB’s sevens side suffered bronze medal match heartbreak against the Fijians.

Ealing Times: The Allianz Premier 15s is the elite women’s domestic rugby union competition in England and continues to grow year on yearThe Allianz Premier 15s is the elite women’s domestic rugby union competition in England and continues to grow year on year

Edwards revelled in watching his stars shine on sport’s biggest stage and wants it to lay the platform for a booming Premier 15s season.

He said: “To have ex Loughborough players Involved in the Olympics as well as up-and-coming players It's a big statement on what we are about.

“To give them the opportunity to do that and see them on the world stage is fantastic and that's no different to our Under-15s pathways in other countries as well.

“It was a bit of a short turn around in the sense that it was only a couple of weeks off after the last season, so the really important thing is that you get back in and actually start where you left off.

“We’ve got some new young players coming through as well, so it was great to see them come in and adapt to how we play and learning that side of it.

“We’re all really looking forward to getting back there on Sunday to play.”

The Allianz Premier 15s is the top-flight women’s domestic rugby union competition in England. For all the latest news from the Allianz Premier 15s, you can follow @Premier15s on Twitter and Instagram. You can also watch live action on Premier15s.com throughout the 2021/22 campaign.