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Bern relishing Ashton Gate showdown

England’s Grand Slam winning tighthead prop Sarah Bern says the Bears are relishing Saturday’s Allianz Premier 15s clash with Harlequins at Ashton Gate, as they look to secure their play-off place with one game to spare.

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Bern was the star of the show as the Red Roses stormed to the TikTok Six Nations title, scoring twice in the victory over France in Bayonne, but the 24-year-old has now turned her attentions to club duty, with the Bears needing just one point – six for a home semi-final - from their final two regular season fixtures to book their play-off spot.

“Abbie (Ward) and I were saying that we couldn’t wait to be back in with the Bears girls – and to be playing at Ashton Gate this weekend, we know it’s going to be a really big game and occasion. Everyone is buzzing to be there.”

Bern is one of the Bears’ longest serving players and has witnessed the growth of both the club and the league over the past few seasons. But with Dave Ward’s side now based at the club’s High Performance Centre and a hugely promising season to date, the 45-cap international believes the future is bright.

“If people have been watching the Six Nations, they will have seen that there are a lot of players from the Premier 15s, playing for different nations, in action every week. So, if they’ve enjoyed watching the Women’s Six Nations, they should come down and see what our domestic competition has to offer.

“The win at Quins earlier in the season was probably one of our favourite games as a squad and we want to replicate that and even improve on it. It was a brilliant performance and a fantastic win, and one that probably shocked everyone, so I think Quins will be coming out ready to fight and go to battle again.”

The TikTok Six Nations is a prime example of the rapid growth of the women’s game, with record crowds at Kingsholm and Mattioli Woods Welford Road and a sell out in Bayonne for the Grand Slam decider. With a crowd of around 4,000 expected at Ashton Gate this weekend, Bern says the players have a chance to inspire the next generation.

“I have two little nieces, so for me, it’s always about: ‘how can I help them and inspire them to do whatever they want to do and follow their dreams, whatever that maybe.

“If I can show them hard work, dedication, not giving up – that’s the message I want us to send out and push boundaries a little bit. When I was younger, I could never have dreamed that I would ever be paid to play rugby, but for me, that’s now becoming a reality. I hope we can inspire people to go after their dreams.”


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