TEAM NEWS | Sale Sharks Women vs Saracens Women (PWR - Rd 7
Scrum-half Leanne Infante is targeting a perfect start to 2024, as her side make the trip north to face Sale Sharks Women.
It's been a hugely positive start to the season in both league and cup for the women in black but Infante admitted her side will be in for a physical battle at CorpacQ Stadium against a Sale side who have shown they can mix it with the best.
"Sale have recruited well over the summer, with the likes of Beatrice Rigoni and Morwenna Talling. We know it's going to be a physical battle and that they've got players across the board who can make an impact. They've got players like Georgie Perris-Redding in the back-row too, so the focus is on how we can nullify those threats."
Ahead of the trip north, Alex Austerberry has made a number of changes from his side's Christmas clash with Bristol.
In the front-row, Akina Gondwe and Bryony Field come into the starting lineup, with Kelsey Clifford shifting to tight-head prop.
In the second-row, Emma Taylor starts alongside Rosie Galligan, whilst it's an unchanged back-row of Sophie de Goede, Marlie Packer and Poppy Cleall.
It's all-change at half-back, with Infante starting alongside Beth Blacklock, with the Scot making her first start in Saracens colours.
Sophie Bridger and Sydney Gregson continue in the centres, whilst Paige Farries returns on the wing, alongside Lotte Clapp and Jess Breach.
Amongst the replacements, Canadian international McKinley Hunt is set for her Saracens debut, with May Campbell and Donna Rose providing the additional front-row cover.
Louise McMillan and Grace Moore provide the additional forwards cover on the bench, with Ella Wyrwas, Amelia MacDougall and Coreen Grant providing an impact amongst the backs.
Infante highlighted that her side had had a positive start to the season, but accepted that the next few games could be critical to her side.
"We want to keep focusing on ourselves and our own performance as a team. We've started well and we wanted to finish strongly before Christmas, but we know this block of matches is going to be crucial. We're in a good place to continue with the momentum we've built but we need to take it one game at a time and that starts with Saturday."
Saracens Women's Team vs Sale Sharks Women:
1. Akina Gondwe
2. Bryony Field
3. Kelsey Clifford
4. Emma Taylor
5. Rosie Galligan
6. Sophie de Goede
7. Marlie Packer (Co-captain)
8. Poppy Cleall
9. Leanne Infante
10. Beth Blacklock
11. Lotte Clapp (Co-captain)
12. Sophie Bridger
13. Sydney Gregson
14. Paige Farries
15. Jess Breach
16. May Campbell
17. Mckinley Hunt
18. Donna Rose
19. Louise McMillan
20. Grace Moore
21. Ella Wyrwas
22. Amelia MacDougall
23. Coreen Grant