Record crowds expected for women's rugby final at Kingsholm

When Gloucester-Hartpury RFC take on Exeter Chiefs in the Allianz Premier 15s final at Kingshom stadium on Saturday 24 June 2023 it will be one of the biggest domestic games of women’s rugby ever played in the UK.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published

'We talk a lot about what we are trying to achieve at Gloucester-Hartpury – and this is the answer; this will be the biggest, most important game ever,’ said James Forrester.

Forrester, a former Gloucester Rugby player who now works as part of the backroom team at Hartpury University and Hartpury College is helping grow one of the country’s leading premier women’s rugby teams.

He says the upcoming Allianz Premier 15s final at Kingsholm is special for a number of reasons.

‘Without doubt this will be the biggest game in Gloucester-Hartpury’s history. We have only been going since 2014 and not reached a final yet.

‘But ticket sales have already passed the record number ever sold for a women’s final and we are expecting at least 10,000 fans on Saturday.

‘This will also be the first time the final has taken place between two teams not from London.

'With the rise of women's rugby as well, this is a great story played out in front of a record crowd right here in Gloucestershire,’ said Forrester, who knows from his own playing days the thrill of running out in front of the famous roar from Gloucester’s Shed stand.

‘And it is great for the future growth of the game here too. Gloucester-Hartpury would not have been able to achieve what it has done already without the incredible support of sponsors including BiGDUG, Laithwaites Wine, Karcher, Appsbroker and others. With their investment we have been able to bring in some incredible talent.'

Chris Brierley, co-founder and company director at pet food provider Cotswold RAW, another of the club's sponsors, said: 'It has been such an exciting season, but not just because of the results. Off the pitch they are such engaging and accessible people too, with everyone - with sponsors and with fans.

'It is more than a commercial relationship. It's emotional as well. We can't wait to get there on Saturday.'

Forrester added: ‘Gloucester-Hartpury has been on the television nine times this year already. With the growing reputation of the game and the rise of the club, it is a great advert for other businesses looking to become part of really positive community, getting great coverage and doing great things for women’s sport.

‘And that is what it is about, encouraging more women into sport, especially at grass roots level. You can see players at Gloucester-Hartpury becoming the first superstars of the game already.

‘And if we can give them a real ‘shed experience’ on Saturday, and a win, it really will be massive.’

Gloucester-Hartpury beat Bristol Bears 21-12 on Saturday 10 June 2023 to make the finals.

The match kicks off at 3.30pm and tickets are available from the Gloucester Rugby website. The final will also be broadcast live on BT Sport and streamed on BBC iPlayer.

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