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MATCH REPORT | Loughborough Lightning 25-33 Saracens Women (AC Cup - Rd 2)

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City Index City Index
Match Rep Lou A

Saracens Women held their nerve to secure a first victory of the cup campaign at Franklin’s Gardens.

After a defeat last weekend to Harlequins, Alex Austerberry’s side were dealt a blow in the warm-up, as fly-half Amelia MacDougall was ruled out. Sarah McKenna moved to ten, with Cara Wardle coming into the starting XV.

It was Loughborough who made the fastest start, as Sarries were rocked by poor discipline in the early exchanges, allowing the Lightning pack to build the pressure and go over from close range.

It took until the tenth minute for Sarries to fire their first shot, as Bryony Field did as she promised pre-match; putting in a booming tackle on one of her former clubmates, to force a turnover.

Saracens were starting to build now, as Sharifa Kasolo latched onto McKenna’s chip through and burst free. The ball was then worked wide to Jemma-Jo Linkins, but the fullback was hauled into touch inches short of the line.

From the lineout, the hosts overthrow and, despite Leanne Infante being held up over the line, Sarries quickly returned to the red zone. With a scrum five metres out, the pack showed their class to power forward, leaving the referee with no choice but to run under the posts for a penalty try.

The hosts came back into it though, as they pounced on a lack of discipline for Sarries. With Sydney Gregson in the bin for a deliberate knock-on, Lia Green edged her side back into the lead.

Sarries would be denied twice more, as they were held up over the line, but they ensured they headed in at the break with a slender advantage, as Sophie Tansley found the space to muscle over from close range.

A fast start was needed in the second period and Sarries found it through Gregson. The centre had looked lively all evening and there was no stopping her here, as she pounced on a kick through to finish under the posts.

The match was beginning to turn in Sarries’ favour, as Loughborough struggled to deal with the suffocating defensive effort. However, penalties again began to mount, allowing the hosts to build the platform, with Morrall going over out wide.

The game was ebbing and flowing now, with Lotte Clapp nearly finished off a superb move, that saw her take the ball off an inside pass and race clear to the line, only to be denied by a last-gasp tackle.

The pressure eventually told though, with Grace Moore picking up where she left off last season, to power over.

Heading into the final quarter, the hosts again caught the Saracens defence napping, as Daisy Hibbert-Jones found a pocket of space to run in and reduce the deficit.

Sarries though, showed all of their big game experience when it mattered most.

Gregson again came to the fore, with a delicate kick in-behind to peg the hosts back in their half, as Saracens looked to suffocate the hosts’ attack.

In the final ten minutes of the game, Infante sewed up the victory for her side, as she spotted a gap down the side of the ruck, racing clear from forty metres, to take her side more than a score clear.

Jemma-Jo Linkins added the points again on her first start for the club, but Loughborough would secure a try bonus of their own straight from the restart through Shrestha.

Crucially, the conversion was missed, to keep it at an eight-point gap and, despite Loughborough finishing on the attack in the Saracens 22, the defensive efforts of the side proved enough, as Clapp forced a knock-on from the hosts, to seal the victory and kickstart their cup campaign.


Coreen Grant Re-signs with Saracens Women

Saracens Women are pleased to confirm that Scottish international Coreen Grant has extended her stay with the club. A livewire wing, Grant has made 42 appearances for the club since joining in 2019, scoring 16 tries. Having excelled in recent seasons, Grant explained that she was looking forward to continuing to develop in North London. […]

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City Index City Index

Introducing... The Showdown 5!

We're heading back to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for The Showdown 5, and it's going to be bigger and better than ever before! On Saturday 22nd March we'll be running out at one of the greatest stadiums in world sport for the fifth instalment of The Showdown. Our opponents will be announced on Tuesday when […]

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City Index City Index

Emma Taylor to join Trailfinders Women

Saracens Women can confirm that Emma Taylor has left the club to join Trailfinders Women. The Canadian international returned to Saracens for a second spell this season, helping the side secure an Allianz Cup title and a semi-final berth on the league. The second-row made 33 appearances in all across her two spells in North […]

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