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Bristol and Saracens win on opening day

Harlequins kick off their title defence on Sunday

Bristol Bears started their Premier 15s campaign with a 38-21 victory over West Country rivals Exeter Chiefs.

A record crowd at Shaftesbury Park watched on as Bristol secured a bonus point victory.

Elsewhere, Worcester Warriors secured a last-gasp 29-23 victory over Sale Sharks, while Marlie Packer’s late try gave Saracens a 26-20 win at Wasps.

The opening day concluded as Gloucester-Hartpury thrashed Durham Sharks 84-0.

Champions Harlequins will begin their title defence against Loughborough Lightning on Sunday.

‘Glad we delivered’

Bears centre Phoebe Murray gave Dave Ward’s side the perfect start, scoring within the first five minutes, before tries from Kate Zackary and Flo Robinson put the Chiefs in the driving seat.

Debutant Hannah West crashed over from a driving maul as the Bears went into half-time 14-12 down.

A second try from West put the hosts ahead and they stretched the lead with a penalty try in the 63rd minute.

The Chiefs fought back with a second for Zackary, but it was short lived as Siwan Lillicrap and Lucy Burgess wrapped up the win.

“I’m really glad we delivered – the girls had been threatening that,” said Ward.

“The fans were awesome, brilliant to have them here.”

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