MATCH REPORT | Exeter Chiefs Women 54-12 Saracens Women
Saracens Women suffered a heavy 54-12 defeat to Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park which ended their 100% away record in the league this season.
A host of internationals returned to the starting line-up after the conclusion of the Six Nations and a lack of cohesion was always to be expected.
But Alex Austerberry’s side struggled to get going despite registering the opening score, with Jodie Rettie notching a try.
From there, Exeter dominated scoring four tries in each half on their way to victory, with Sarries producing just one more in reply, a trademark Hannah Botterman effort.
Sarries opened the scoring inside three minutes when an early penalty allowed Holly Aitchison to kick for the corner.
The forwards pushed the Chiefs back to their own line before Jodie Rettie stepped her way through the defence to touch down.
But Exeter were soon level in very similar fashion as their pack showed their attacking mettle. Prop Hope Rogers powered home from the back of a menacing lineout drive.
The hosts then added a second from the restart. Merryn Doidge tore down the wing and dodged a couple of chasing defenders to score under the posts before Gabby Cantorna added the extras to make it 14-5.
Discipline was proving a recurring issue throughout the first-half and granted the hosts plenty of attacking opportunities.
Hooker Emily Tuttosi was next to drive over, claiming Exeter’s third from the back of a driving maul following another Sarries infringement.
Play-off chasing Chiefs secured the bouns-point inside the first-half after a loose ball bounced the way of scrum-half Flo Robinson who had the simplest of finishes.
Saracens showed signs of life on the stroke of half-time with some neat link-up play between Hannah Casey and Alysha Corrigan but an offside call brought an end to the attack, with Sarries trailing 26-5 at the break.
Exeter started the second period in a similar vein and within 60 seconds were inside the Sarries 22.
The Chiefs pack turned the early pressure into points with flanker Rachel Johnson the latest to score from close-range.
It was a case of bad to worse for the Women in Black, with Johnson’s opposite number Vicky Fleetwood sin-binned for her efforts in trying to prevent the score.
Straight from the restart the hosts registered their sixth with winger Jennine Deviteaux running in from half-way, before Linde van der Velden’s try brought the score to 47-5.
A raft of changes injected some fresh impetus into the Sarries team, but it was one of the starters, Lotte Clapp, who made the decisive break which led to the visitors second score.
The skipper burst onto an off-load from Alev Kelter and was stopped just metres short of the line.
The forwards pushed and probed before Botterman powered over, brutally knocking over three Exeter defenders in her path.
But the upturn was short lived and Cantorna brought the scoring to a close with a simple finish in the corner with five minutes to play.
Sarries return to action when they host Wasps at StoneX Stadium next Saturday, looking to finish the regular season with an improved performance ahead of their home play-off semi-final.
Written by Ben Hart.