Austerberry delighted with international recognition
The TikTok Six Nations is in full flow and the Red Roses have galloped into a big lead after three rounds.
If ever you needed reminding of how far the women’s game has come on, then watching the quality, competitiveness, skill and passion of all the teams to date has merely underlined that point. And it was amazing to see the game between England and Wales sell out Kingsholm last weekend.
Wales, aided by two tries from our own Donna Rose in their Round 1 win over Ireland, were bidding for a Triple Crown. In the end, the Red Roses were too strong for them and ran in 10 tries in a 58-5 victory that made it 31 tries and 189 points in three games.
Now the goal for the English girls is another Triple Crown and Grand Slam as they continue to build on their double over New Zealand in the Autumn. The world has been warned ahead of October’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand – England are coming!
Saracens head coach Alex Austerberry was among the 14,689 crowd at Gloucester to watch the game and couldn’t believe the atmosphere.
“The last time I was at Kingsholm it wasn’t a great day because we lost the Premier15s final to Harlequins. There were around 4,000 there that day and to be part of a crowd that was more than three times that size was amazing,” he said.
“The atmosphere was fantastic and the scenes afterwards, with the players from both sides mixing with the fans, was very special. There are some unique aspects to the women’s game and we need to build on them.
“The Six Nations has shown the potential there is in our game and we need to ensure we harness the feel-good factor from this tournament and bring it into the club game. A lot of people have been saying there is a bright future for women’s rugby, but at Kingsholm it seemed as though the future had arrived early.
“What has pleased me most about the tournament is the way our players have stepped up onto the international stage and risen to the challenge. It hasn’t been about surviving, it has been about thriving.
“I was delighted for Donna. It wasn’t just the two tries she scored coming off the bench, it was more the fact she made a significant impact as a replacement in the Welsh wins over Ireland and Scotland and earned a starting position against England.
“Then you have someone like Marlie Packer. She gave the Roses a magnificent start with a hat-trick in the opening round win over the Scots and has simply taken her outstanding club form onto the bigger stage.
“What I want to see now is all our players coming back into the club game and stepping up again as we get to the business end of the season. There is excitement among those players who haven’t; made the international grade to have them back in our environment and there is so much for us to aim at when they do return.”
The ‘Women in Black’ lost a game against Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership15s Cup due to COVID, but were in action on Saturday at Gloucester-Hartpury. Next up will be the final two fixtures in the regular league season.
“We’ve had a good season to date, but there are much bigger games to come. We might already have clinched top spot, but we want to use our final two fixtures as a springboard for the semi-finals,” added Austerberry.