Laura-Jane Lewis is itching to witness the sting Bryony Cleall will bring to the Wasps line-up when the splashy new signing debuts this weekend.  

Cleall made the move to Acton over the summer, leaving twin sister Poppy behind at Saracens—the team Wasps happen to be playing in Saturday’s Allianz Premier 15s home opener.  

For Lewis, who is working under Giselle Mather again this season, the new addition slots in perfectly to a talented group boasting internationals and Olympians alike.  

She said: “We’re really excited for her in our open play, her ball carrying, I think the thing we’re excited to work with her on is her scrummaging. 

“I’m a forwards coach, so she loves me because I’m forever on her about scrummaging, but I think her open play as it stands right now is her X factor, and then alongside that her set piece.  

“I’m just excited to see where we can take her with that. She’s been a great addition to the squad.” 

RFU will stream over 40 Allianz Premier 15s matches via throughout the 2021/22 season. All five matches from the opening round will be broadcast followed by two fixtures per round for the remainder of the season. Quality highlights packages from the three non-streamed games will also be produced. 

Allianz Premier 15s fans will notice a subtle change when Wasps appear on screen this season. Last year, they were called Wasps Ladies—now they’re Wasps Women. 

“For me it was quite a big thing,” said Wasps back Claudia MacDonald. 

“I know it’s just a name, but for me you don’t call it ‘gentlemen’s rugby’ and ladies’ tends to be the opposite of gentlemen’s so for me Wasps Women was more representative, more collective, more inclusive of who we want to be and who we want to show ourselves to be going forward.” 

Wasps placed third overall last campaign, finishing just two points behind 2021 champions Harlequins to clinch a semi-final playoff spot. They also earned bragging rights as one of the teams who handed back-to-back champions Saracens one of just two regular season losses. 

Harlequins would later prove Saracens were beatable in a final, and after three straight years of those two squads battling on trophy day, MacDonald is eager to earn a pass to the party. 

She said: “We’ve talked a lot about belief. We’ve got some fantastic players across all positions and we have really great depth, but we don’t just rely on that very top-end player.  

“All our players play, they’re all very important to us, but I think the missing ingredient at times was that belief.  

“We’ve got quite a clear way we want to play. We like to move that ball around and have a bit of fun with that, but that does take a bit of belief at times. 

“That’s where we’re trying to move the group to now. That’s been really important to us, and it’s happened. We’ve definitely seen that change in our pre-season tour. 

“So I think come Saturday, let’s see some of that belief in the way we want to play and we can.” 

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 throughout the 2021/22 campaign.