TEAM NEWS | Saracens Women vs Bristol Bears (AP15s Rd17)
Wing Coreen Grant admitted that there was a real desire in the squad, as Saracens look to try and chase down a home semi-final.
Last week’s victory against Worcester was a crucial one for the group and, having had to play the best part of an hour with 14 players, Grant feels that the victory really highlighted the resolve in the side.
“I think the win last week says a lot about the mentality of the group. To come back and win with 14 players was a big statement.”
Bristol though, put in a statement performance themselves last weekend to take a huge scalp against Exeter. It’s a result that has given Saracens a sniff of a home semi-final and Grant feels that her side can take a lot from their last victory over the Bears back in January.
“I think we can take a lot from the last game against Bristol. It’s great to be back at StoneX this week. I’m expecting a really physical battle on Sunday. We’re hungry and we’re still chasing a home semi-final, but we know we need to put in a quality performance against a top side.”
Ahead of this one, Director of Rugby Alex Austerberry has had to make several alterations to his matchday side.
With Hannah Botterman serving a one-week ban, Mackenzie Carson starts in the front row, alongside May Campbell and Kelsey Clifford.
In the second row, Fi McIntosh returns to the starting XV to partner Louise McMillan, whilst Sharfia Kasolo is promoted from the bench to start at blindside flanker.
Co-captain Marlie Packer continues at 7, with Poppy Cleall reverting back to her more familiar position of number 8.
Ella Wyrwas starts at scrum half, on the occasion of her 50th appearance for the club, as she partners Holly Aitchison at halfback.
The backline is otherwise unchanged, with Sarah McKenna and Sydney Gregson forming a dynamic centre pairing.
The back three sees Grant joined by co-captain Lotte Clapp and Jess Breach.
On the bench, Jodie Rettie and Alex Ellis are joined back in the matchday side by Maya Montiel, with Grace Moore and Kat Evans providing the additional forward cover.
The backs replacements are Leanne Infante, Cara Wardle and Isla Alejandro.
This season has been something of a breakthrough one for Grant, both domestically and in international colours. The Scotland international has already scored 11 tries in the league this season and she was quick to explain just how much fun she was having on the pitch.
“It’s been a huge season for me personally. I’m just really enjoying getting time on the pitch. There’s nothing better than playing and if I get tries that’s a bonus too!”
Saracens Women's Team vs Bristol Bears:
1. Mackenzie Carson
2. May Campbell
3. Kelsey Clifford
4. Fi McIntosh
5. Lou McMillan
6. Sharifa Kasolo
7. Marlie Packer (co-captain)
8. Poppy Cleall
9. Ella Wyrwas
10. Holly Aitchison
11. Lotte Clapp (co-captain)
12. Sarah McKenna
13. Sydney Gregson
14. Coreen Grant
15. Jess Breach
16. Jodie Rettie
17. Maya Montiel
18. Alex Ellis
19. Grace Moore
20. Kat Evans
21. Leanne Infante
22. Cara Wardle
23. Isla Alejandro