MATCH REACTION | Alex Austerberry (AC Rd - 4)
Director of Rugby Alex Austerberry praised the performance of his forwards, as they set the foundations for a commanding victory against Trailfinders Women.
In appalling conditions, Saracens Women scored seven tries in all, as the scrum dominance up front set the tone for an impressive afternoon.
“It was a fantastic effort from the pack. They gave us a really good platform in what was a tough battle out there. Once we established ourselves, the scrum really gave us the chance to hammer home that momentum. It wasn’t just that though. Our defensive shift, especially around the tight was outstanding. Given the conditions, this was always going to be a day for the pack, and they really put down the blueprint for success.”
The match also saw young prop Chloe Flanagan score her first try for the club, with Austerberry praising the young gun for her work rate and effort.
“Chloe is just fantastic. The biggest compliment I can give her is that she really maximises her potential. She works incredibly hard to be the best player that she can be and her performances so far in the cup have been a continuation of the work she put in last season. Everything she has learnt is starting to come to fruition. She was brilliant at the scrum, but that was also a pretty handy try as well!”
It wasn’t just the young guns that showed their worth, as the returning Poppy Cleall and May Campbell added a crucial layer of experience to the side. Austerberry praised the impact that his international pair had made on the group, especially in the crucial moments.
“It's unfortunate that Poppy didn’t have the chance to go out to WXV with England after that injury, but we’re delighted she’s involved with us, and we saw some real bits of quality from her out there. May coming back in was important too. Having players like that in your team gives you a real balance and an element of calmness and clarity when you have younger players in the group.”
Securing a semi-final berth is very much in Saracens’ hands heading into the final round of group matches, but Austerberry is under no illusions that his side will have to perform at their maximum, if they are to secure a result at home against Gloucester-Hartpury next weekend.
“Ultimately, you want to have things in your hands. Regardless of any permutations, we know that next weekend we need to go out and win what will be a hard game of rugby. Gloucester-Hartpury are unbeaten, so we know it’s going to be a big test. It’s going to be challenging, but that’s exactly what you want. We want to be in semi-finals and finals, but the focus has to be there if we want to do that.”