If Richmond Ladies claim a record ninth Premiership crown on Sunday they may have to thank the Irish RFU.

Captain and centre Jackie Shiels missed Sunday’s 35-0 Women’s Premiership semi-final romp past Worcester Ladies due to being involved in an Ireland Women training camp.

The Waldegrave School teacher and Women’s Six Nations winner should still be away for this weekend’s final, but has been released from international duty to appear for Richmond.

England hooker and World Cup winner Emma Croker delivered a faultless display as her deputy and fellow centre Amy Turner was also in eye catching form.

But head coach Karen Findlay admitted she had been grateful to have her captain to call on this weekend.

“Jackie has had a tremendous season and has led by example all season,” she said.

“She should still be in Ireland this weekend, but we have managed to get her released to play.

“Emma was outstanding in her absence on Sunday, she barely put a foot wrong and stood up to the mark.”