TEAM NEWS | Exeter Chiefs vs Saracens Women (AP15s – Rd 7)
A week on from a comprehensive victory over DMP Sharks, Saracens Women know that they will need to continue to push on, as they make the visit to Sandy Park to face last season’s finalists Exeter Chiefs.
Sandy Park is a ground that Saracens are yet to taste victory at, and flanker Marlie Packer is expecting a huge challenge come kick-off on Saturday.
“We take each team on as they come, but the statement is that we need to go there and perform how we know we can perform, to get the result that we want,” explained Packer.
Making her first appearance of the season in a Saracens shirt last weekend, Packer was at her influential best, scoring a hattrick and assisting another two of her side’s fifteen tries on the afternoon.
With a number of key players having returned to the side for the first-time last weekend, the hope and expectation within the camp is that the team can now begin to climb the table and hunt down those play-off places.
Ahead of the trip to Devon, Director of Rugby Alex Austerberry has been able to select a settled pack for this one, with the group remaining unchanged from that victory over DMP Sharks.
The front row will see Kelsey Clifford, May Campbell and Alex Ellis all start together again, whilst Fi McIntosh and Louise McMillan will continue to build on their promising partnership in the second row.
There’s plenty of power in the backrow too, with Grace Moore, Packer and Poppy Cleall primed to continue where they left off last weekend.
It’s in the backline that the changes have been made this weekend, with two at halfback.
At scrumhalf, Leanne Infante starts for the first time since re-joining the club in the summer, whilst Holly Aitchison shifts from centre to fly half in the absence of Zoe Harrison.
In the centres, Hannah Casey shifts to inside centre, whilst Sydney Gregson returns to the starting XV at outside centre, after a try-scoring cameo last weekend.
The back three remains unchanged, with Lotte Clapp, Jess Breach and Sarah McKenna all named.
Amongst the replacements, Georgia Evans is again fit for selection having been out of action since round three against Harlequins, whilst Catha Jacobs comes into the side in place of Sharifa Kasolo.
With Gregson moving into the starting XV, Isla Alejandro is named on the bench, alongside Ella Wyrwas and Coreen Grant.
There really is a sense within the camp that the season starts now, with Packer highlighting the importance of hunting down those play-off spots and the sides ahead of Saracens in the table, starting with the Chiefs tomorrow.
“To get the win would be a statement for us about how we are building. We’re sitting in fifth now and we are looking to build back into those play-off positions.”
Saracens Women’s Team vs Exeter Chiefs
- Kelsey Clifford
- May Campbell
- Alex Ellis
- Fi McIntosh
- Louise McMillan
- Grace Moore
- Marlie Packer (co-captain)
- Poppy Cleall
- Leanne Infante
- Holly Aitchison
- Lotte Clapp (co-captain)
- Hannah Casey
- Sydney Gregson
- Jess Breach
- Sarah McKenna
- Jodie Rettie
- Mackenzie Carson
- Mica Gooding
- Catha Jacobs
- Georgia Evans
- Ella Wyrwas
- Isla Alejandro
- Coreen Grant