MATCH REACTION | Alex Austerberry (PWR - Rd 11)
Director of Rugby Alex Austerberry was left wanting more, despite a bonus-point victory over Trailfinders Women.
After a first defeat of the campaign last time out against Gloucester-Hartpury, Sarries scored 8 tries at home against their newest London rivals, with Austerberry admitting that the performance was still slightly scrappy in places.
“I thought we started really well. The tempo and execution was right up there, but then I felt we gave away momentum a bit too easily. It was a little bit scrappy in places and at times we lost a bit of context about where we wanted to play. It was a bit sticky in places and we need to learn to play through those sticky patches. We conceded two tries pretty quickly and I think we could have been better in not inviting pressure on ourselves.”
Austerberry and his coaching staff had challenged their side to be braver in attack this weekend, with the DoR feeling that his side put in a strong showing in the second period.
“We asked the girls to be brave with ball in hand and they were. There was some really high-quality stuff in there. Ultimately in the second half, we played some outstanding rugby. We kept the ball alive and moved it really well. There’s a lot to be proud of in that performance and a lot of things that we are really pleased with.”
Sydney Gregson scored two tries in a player of the match performance, with Sarah McKenna looking like she’d never been away, as she made her first league appearance of the season. Austerberry was pleased with the efforts of his whole squad but singled out his two centres for praise.
“There were a lot of good contributions across the park. It was brilliant to see Sarah back in midfield and Sydney had several really great moments. Marlie and Poppy had some superb interplay throughout, and the front-row gave us a superb platform. The maul and the scrum were solid.”
Heading into The Duel next weekend against Harlequins, Austerberry admitted that his side need to pick the right moments to play with ball in hand, as they look to sharpen up some of the mistakes that crept into their game at times in this one.
“Our job now is to tighten up some of those key areas for next weekend. It’s brilliant that players step up at big moments, but we want those to be on top of solid play, rather than picking us up from an error beforehand. The accuracy of our collision work is one to improve upon. Some of our connections in transition can be better as well, as there are some massive opportunities there for us. We need to earn the right to play out wide. When we got that balance right, it was fantastic, but we were guilty of overplaying at times. We want to look to create different pictures and give ourselves a chance to pick the right pass or the right kick in a match to put us in a position of strength. There’s a real chance for us now to really focus on what our strengths are and take those into the next few weeks.”