Mar 13, 2017
Saracens Women Bow Out In Cup Semi Final
Saracens Women’s Cup hopes were dashed as they fell to a 20-10 defeat away to Wasps Ladies on Sunday. Despite dominating the second half they were unable to cross the whitewash as a determined Wasps side shut the visitors out and denied Sarries a place in the final.
The home side were first on the score sheet as Sarries strayed offside to give Wasps a shot at the posts which Hannah Edwards slotted. Scrum half Sam Wong added to this shortly after as she spotted the gap to sneak through and score under the sticks with Edwards nailing the conversion.
A probing kick through from Saracens centre Nina Vistisen put Wasps under pressure, forcing the knock on and gifting the visitors a scrum five metres out. Excellent work from the Sarries pack drove Wasps back as No.8 Rosie Galligan burrowed over. Saracens struck again soon after with Vistisen again involved in the build up as she offloaded to Seraphine Okemba who sliced open the Wasps defence to score and level the scores.
Saracens soon found themselves down to 14 as flanker Becky Roby was shown yellow for bringing down a Wasps maul but Galligan stole the resulting lineout to snub out the home side pressure.
A mistake by Sarries in the midfield proved costly as Wasps hacked through the loose ball only for Lauren Newman to make a last ditch tackle a couple of metres out. Wasps reinforcements arrived quickly, making the most of the numerical advantage as the ball was recycled wide for Katie Alder to score Wasps third of the afternoon.
Newman found herself in the thick of the action again minutes later as she was penalised for a high tackle but Sarries survived without conceding as Wasps took a 15-10 lead into the break.
Saracens head coach Rob Cain made changes at halftime as props Kerrie-Ann Craddock and Jeanni Vinueza Yoyola entered the fray along with April Brown replacing Zoe Harrison at fly half and Rowan White coming onto the wing for Emma Uren. The visitors started the second period brightly putting Wasps under immediate pressure as they carried strongly upfield, earning themselves a penalty 15 metres out.. Having demonstrated complete dominance at scrum time Sarries opted to pack down however the referee penalised Georgie Gulliver for a crooked feed which gave Wasps an opportunity to clear their lines. Wasps earned another penalty soon after which they kicked to the corner and a well executed catch and drive pushed Sarah Mimnagh over to take the score to 20-10.
Sensing a place in the final was slipping away from them, Saracens ramped up the intensity and began to apply huge pressure on the home side however they couldn’t convert the pressure into points as they missed several golden opportunities. In the final quarter a resilient Wasps defence survived wave upon wave of Sarries attack as the visitors could not find a way through. Wasps were reduced to 14 after a string of infringements but Vistisen’s penalty kick strayed wide. Sarries kept the pressure on forcing Wasps to concede multiple penalties and were shown another yellow card. Sensing an opportunity Sarries went for the scrum, walking Wasps back but were held up over the line. The pack should be pleased with their efforts after winning several scrum penalties in quick succession, but in what would be the story of the afternoon for last year’s finalists, they just couldn’t finish and cross the whitewash.
A desperate Wasps defence were leaking penalties leading to two additional yellow cards, taking the tally to four sin bins in twenty minutes. Cain’s side will be frustrated that they could not capitalise on this as Wasps ground the clock down to secure the win and snatch away Saracens first shot at silverware of the season.
Speaking after the match, Rob Cain said: “Full credit to Wasps today - they executed better than us and converted our unforced errors into points. There were so many needless pressure moments we forced on ourselves. We are bitterly disappointed as the players have been working so hard leading up to this game but none of that work was put into action today. Our execution and decision making wasn't where it needed to be and if you constantly cough up ball or make numerous unforced errors in a row it is so tough to come out on top. There was a huge effort from everyone to keep trying to get the scores we needed but we needed more than fight and effort today.”
All eyes now turn to the Premiership where Saracens Women will have the opportunity to fight for the title have already qualified for the play offs with a game in hand. The final league round sees Sarries travel north to take on DMP Sharks on Sunday 26th March.