TEAM NEWS | Saracens Women vs Loughborough Lightning
There’s nowhere quite like home. Well, Saracens Women will be hoping that the old saying stands true again this weekend, as Loughborough Lightning make the visit to StoneX Stadium.
Last weekend, the side secured a solid victory on the road against Sale Sharks, despite a sticky period in the first half. Reflecting on the victory, hooker May Campbell admitted that some stern words had been the catalyst for a superb second half display.
“It was definitely a tough start against Sale. We were a bit slow out of the blocks and it was tight at halftime, but Alex gave us a good talking to!”
Despite the positive result on the road, the game was marred by a serious injury suffered by Vicky Fleetwood early in the second period. Campbell admitted that it had been a big blow to the side but was pleased with the way that those around her reacted on the field.
“The second half started well but losing Fleeto was a huge loss. But we definitely came together and there were some really good pieces in that second half performance. There’s been people who have been thrown in at the deep end and they’ve coped really well.”
Campbell scored her side’s fifth try up north, to take her tally to four in two games this season. She admitted that she was thrilled to have started the season in such good try scoring form but insisted that her focus was on leading from the front come gameday.
“It’s great to be on the end of a try, even if you do end up just flopping over! Hopefully I can bring that experience and lead from the front in terms of performance. Each week, there’s been new debuts coming through, so hopefully they can all learn as much as possible from this environment and really kick on.”
Loughborough though, will provide stern opposition tomorrow afternoon for Alex Austerberry’s side. Lightning beat Wasps in their season opener, before going down to Bristol Bears last weekend. Campbell though, is expecting a fast and furious affair come kick-off.
“They will look to play out the back pretty often, with lots of young, fast players. Hopefully we can play to our game plan and play in the areas we want to. We’re targeting a higher level of execution than we’ve had in the past.”
For Saracens this week, there’s something of a reshuffle in the matchday squad, with four new faces in the starting XV. Up front, Jodie Turl starts in place of Flo Long, whilst Taryn Schutzler replaces Vicky Fleetwood in the backrow.
With no Ella Wyrwas this weekend, Anna Goddard makes her first start of the season at scrumhalf, whilst Kirsty Exley starts at inside centre, with co-captain Cara Wardle shifting to outside centre.
Amongst the replacements, Cece Gordon-Hill, Eloise Bloomfield and Sophie Shams are all involved in the matchday squad for the first time this season.
With the global interest in the women’s game growing stronger by the day, that is beginning to transfer over into attendances at home.
Ahead of Saturday's match, Campbell took the time to highlight just how much it meant to her and her fellow teammates to have that support behind them.
“I don’t think people realise how big an impact it has on us as players. Having spectators in the ground and young faces too, it’s really about inspiring the next generation. It makes you proud to go onto the pitch and represent the club. We always love to have a chat with the fans afterwards and hopefully we can grow the game further and increase the support throughout the season.”
Saracens Women's Team vs Loughborough Lightning
1. Jodie Turl
2. May Campbell
3. Kelsey Clifford
4. Fi McIntosh
5. Sophie Tansley
6. Taryn Schutzler
7. Sharifa Kasolo
8. Grace Moore
9. Anna Goddard
10. Lisa Martin
11. Abi Evans
12. Kirsty Exley
13. Cara Wardle
14. Lucy Biggs
15. Isla Alejandro
16. Sarah Bebbington
17. Mica Gooding
18. Jeanina Loyola
19. Cece Gordon-Hill
20. Abbie Picking
21. Eloise Bloomfield
22. Katie Johnson
23. Sophie Shams