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TEAM NEWS | Loughborough Lightning vs Saracens Women (AC - RD 2)

29.09.23
In association with
City Index City Index
Acrd2

Back row Sharifa Kasolo feels that her side can take confidence from their previous matches against Loughborough, heading into round two of the Allianz Cup.

Last weekend, Sarries suffered an opening night defeat to Harlequins at StoneX. However, with a large number of youngsters making their senior debuts for the club, Kasolo believes that the group can take confidence from many elements of the performance and how the new faces have risen to the challenge.

"With the internationals, yes we have players who have gone, but the academy girls have stepped up and done amazingly. Hopefully they can keep doing what they've been doing and get those minutes in. For some of the new girls too, this is a great chance to show what they can bring to Saracens."

Matches between Saracens and Loughborough have always been full-on, especially upfront. Kasolo believes that her side will need to match the intensity of their hosts at Franklin's Gardens, if they are to secure a result.

"Loughborough was one of the last games we had last season in the league. They always give us a physical battle, so it's going to be a big one for sure."

Ahead of the first away fixture of the campaign, Director of Rugby Alex Austerberry has made two changes to the starting XV, with Lotte Clapp coming into the side and Jemma-Jo Linkins making her first start since arriving from Wasps.

Up front, Chloe Flanagan and Mica Gooding are joined in the front row by Bryony Field. Field arrived from Loughborough over the summer and made a fast start last weekend, as she notched a hat trick on debut.

Sonia Green and Sophie Tansley make up the second row, with Emma Taylor, Joia Bennett and Kasolo making up an unchanged back row.

Leanne Infante and Amelia MacDougall continue at halfback, with Sarah McKenna and Sydney Gregson again linking up in the centres. Infante and McKenna continue as co-captains for the second cup match in a row.

On the left wing, Clapp comes in for Lucy Biggs, whilst Isla Alejandro shifts to the wing to accommodate Linkins at fullback.

On the bench, Nic Haynes and Mica Evans are joined by Spanish international Jeanina Loyola as front row replacements. There are two Irish internationals behind them too, as Grace Moore and Taryn Schutzler ready themselves to make an impact.

Chloe Broom could make her competitive debut for the club off the bench, with Cara Wardle and Biggs covering the rest of the backline.

Last year's cup competition was a real breakthrough moment for Kasolo and she believes that the competition has the ability to give a number of her teammates the same opportunity this season.

"Playing for Saracens for the first time was definitely nerve-wracking. Playing in the cup helped me ease into that. It gives more people opportunities to get minutes and it's a great stepping stone before moving into the league."

 

Saracens Women's Team vs Loughborough Lightning:

1. Chloe Flanagan
2. Bryony Field
3. Mica Gooding
4. Sonia Green
5. Sophie Tansley
6. Emma Taylor
7. Joia Bennett
8. Sharifa Kasolo
9. Leanne Infante (Co-Captain)
10. Amelia MacDougall
11. Lotte Clapp
12. Sarah McKenna (Co-Captain)
13. Sydney Gregson
14. Isla Alejandro
15. Jemma-Jo Linkins

Replacements:

16. Nic Haynes
17. Mi├ža Evans
18. Jeanina Loyola
19. Taryn Schutzler
20. Grace Moore
21. Chloe Broom
22. Cara Wardle
23. Lucy Biggs

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