TEAM NEWS | Saracens Women vs Gloucester-Hartpury (AP15S – RD4)
Fullback Sarah McKenna couldn’t help but smile as she admitted to being “really excited for the first one back.”
As she returns to the Saracens fold following the world cup in New Zealand, McKenna has wasted no time getting up to speed ahead of this weekend’s clash with Gloucester-Hartpury.
“It’s been good coming back in and getting back to the day job. That regular training and games every week feels good, so it’s nice to be getting back into the swing of things with that. We’re refining some things and all of us coming back in are getting to know new people, but I’m enjoying myself being back.”
Last week against Harlequins, the side suffered a first league defeat of the season, in disappointing circumstances. McKenna accepted that there were some good things in that performance but challenged her side to apply themselves for the full eighty minutes on Saturday.
The Saracens squad will be hoping that home comforts do the trick, with McKenna joined in the starting XV by the returning Holly Aitchison, who starts at fly half.
There are four changes in all from last weekend’s trip to Harlequins, with several positional changes too.
The front row remains unchanged, with Kelsey Clifford, May Campbell and Alex Ellis packing down. In the second row, Fi McIntosh returns to the side and is joined by South African international Catha Jacobs, who made her post-world cup return off the bench last weekend.
Louise McMillan reverts to the backrow in the absence of Georgia Evans, where she is joined by Sharifa Kasolo and Grace Moore.
Ella Wyrwas continues and scrum half, with Aitchison joining her at fly half, whilst in the centres, Hannah Casey shifts to inside centre, with Sydney Gregson switching from the wing to outside centre, following an impressive performance on her comeback from injury against Harlequins.
The back three sees McKenna named at fullback, with Isla Alejandro shifting to the wing, alongside captain Lotte Clapp.
Amongst the replacements, the likes of Taryn Schutzler, Jodie Rettie and Kat Evans will be poised to make an impact, alongside Flo Williams, Cara Wardle and Coreen Grant, who all started last weekend against Harlequins. Mica Gooding and Jeanina Loyola will also be lying in wait to bolster the pack.
Gloucester-Hartpury comes into this one as one of only two unbeaten sides left in the league. McKenna is anticipating a tough outing come kick-off on Saturday but insisted that her side have more than enough about them to secure the victory.
“We’ve had a good training week going into what will be a tough match against a really good opposition. We've had a look at them over the week, but we know we have enough to beat those types of teams. We’ll hopefully have a performance with all the polish on it and go out there with confidence.”
Saracens Women’s Team vs Gloucester-Hartpury
- Kelsey Clifford
- May Campbell
- Alex Ellis
- Fiona McIntosh
- Catha Jacobs
- Louise McMillan
- Sharifa Kasolo
- Grace Moore
- Ella Wyrwas
- Holly Aitchison
- Lotte Clapp (c)
- Hannah Casey
- Sydney Gregson
- Isla Alejandro
- Sarah McKenna
- Jodie Rettie
- Mica Gooding
- Jeanina Loyola
- Taryn Schutzler
- Kat Evans
- Flo Williams
- Cara Wardle
- Coreen Grant