MATCH REACTION | Alex Austerberry
Director of Rugby Alex Austerberry accepted that he was searching for ‘more quality’ from his side, despite a second successive bonus point victory.
In gloomy conditions, Saracens scored five tries in all against a determined Wasps side. Austerberry praised the application of the visitors but challenged his side to find another level.
“First and foremost, it was good to get the five points. London Derbies are always fiercely contested and today was the same. It’s the result but not the performance that we wanted. When we looked to raise the tempo and get things moving a bit quicker, I don’t think we did that. Fair play to Wasps, they did a lot of work that stopped us doing that.”
Austerberry accepted that his side fell short of the levels they challenge themselves to reach, despite flashes of quality throughout the match.
“I thought we were just a little bit off the pace and small margins make a big difference at this level and we feel that we fell below the standards that we set ourselves. We were missing a little bit of energy and tempo. We had quality but it only shined through in little bits, but we lacked the continuity we needed.”
The Director of Rugby though did acknowledge that at this early stage in the season, he wasn’t expecting his side to hit top form and challenged his players to use the learnings from the last two games next weekend against Harlequins.
“We’ve got to be better, but it is the start of the season and you’re not expecting things to be perfect. It’s great for us that we can get back out on the pitch relatively quickly and right a few wrongs from today. We want to take the learnings from the last few weeks and put that on the pitch.”
Fixtures versus Harlequins have been notoriously tight and competitive in recent seasons and Austerberry is already expecting another tough outing on Saturday.
“There’s no better test than going up against your big rivals, just like the match today. Every week is a tough test, and we know we have a recent history with Quins with some tight games. We’ve got a chance to rectify things from today in six days’ time, when we run out against another strong side.”
Throughout the match, Austerberry and his coaching staff were forced into several rejigs on the field, with a number of players having to play in unfamiliar positions. The Director of Rugby took the time to praise how his players applied themselves throughout the contest, explaining how pleased he has been with the depth within the squad so far.
“Louise came in as a lineout caller and did a good job. This part of the season is about looking at how well the rest of your squad is doing and what your depth is like,” he noted. “Everyone has got players missing for multiple reasons and you’re always going to pick up injuries, but players stepping up and doing a job is important and we saw that from quite a few players today. Some of them were having to play in positions that they weren’t expecting to be in, and they did really well.”