MATCH REPORT | Saracens Women 43-21 Exeter Chiefs Women
Saracens Women claimed the Premier 15s title in an emphatic style with a dominant 43-21 win over Exeter Chiefs at Sixways Stadium.
Alex Austerberry’s side delivered a performance worthy of champions, scoring three tries in each half in Worcester.
Victory means the league trophy returns to north London for the first time since 2019, denying Exeter a league and cup double in the process.
Chiefs had earlier started brightest and enjoyed all of the ball for the opening three minutes before a crushing tackle from Sarah McKenna prompted an immense roar from Sarries supporters and coaches, and a momentum swinging penalty soon followed.
The Women in Black then showed their attacking mettle as they raced their way downfield.
After an audacious chip from Holly Aitchison, Hannah Botterman thought she had the game’s opening score only to have the ball ripped from her grasp as she went to dot down.
But it was only a brief reprieve for Exeter as Poppy Cleall burst to within inches of the line from a tap penalty.
Marlie Packer then powered her way over with seven minutes on the clock to register the crucial opening score.
Aitchison was central to all that was good about Sarries and was denied a certain interception score when play was brought back for a high tackle on Kate Zackary.
Both sides threatened at every opportunity as a tense arm wrestle slowly unfolded.
But it was Exeter who faltered, allowing Vicky Fleetwood to dart home from close-range after another excellent passage of play from Austerberry’s side.
Alev Kelter kicked her second conversion of the afternoon to make it 14-0, giving Saracens some early breathing space.
That buffer was wiped out moments later, however, as Exeter carved through the Sarries defensive line for the first time.
A penalty 10 metres out offered Chiefs the chance for their first points but fly-half Patricia Garcia only had eyes for the maximum score and a quick tap and go caught the Saracens defence off-guard, ensuring a simple conversion for Gabby Cantorna.
That blow was softened on the half hour mark when Kelter added three points from the tee following a Chiefs infringement at the breakdown.
The big hits were flying in as Exeter looked to reduce the deficit but they were suffocated time and time again by a peerless Sarries defence.
With half-time approaching Saracens notched their third, with Packer again proving too hot to handle.
The flanker’s effort was her 17th of the season, a league high for the England Women’s Player of the Year.
Kelter, ever faultless from the tee, added the extras to give Sarries a 24-7 half-time lead.
Within just 58 seconds of the restart Saracens had their fourth. Cleall gathered Aitchison’s kick via a fortuitous bounce before Mackenzie Carson forced her way through to cross.
Sarries grip of the trophy weakened slightly on 56 minutes when an excellent move finished with wing Jennie Detiveaux sliding over to edge open a door which had seemed shut.
With the tension slowly mounting, two tries in as many minutes restored calm, as a trademark May Campbell drive and sublime solo score from Alysha Corrigan opened up a 43-14 lead.
First-time finalists Chiefs refused to go down without a fight and scored their third, and the final try of the game, with ten minutes to play courtesy of substitute Ebony Jeffries.
Saracens’ third success in the competition caps a memorable season which saw them taste defeat on just two occasions, having finished top of the league standings by a whopping 11 points.
Written by Ben Hart.