TEAM NEWS | Saracens Women vs Loughborough Lightning (AP15s - Rd1)
Backrow Grace Moore admits that she is relishing her opportunity at the top table of women’s rugby, as the Allianz Premier15s finally gets underway this weekend.
After a hugely promising cup campaign, attentions now turn to the small matter of defending the Premier15s title, starting with the visit of Loughborough Lightning this weekend.
The visitors are well-known adversaries to the side, having made the trip to the StoneX a few weeks ago in the Allianz Cup.
Moore believes that cup run has served her side well, as they look to kick on, bolstered by the return of some of their world cup stars.
Five of those who were named in their respective world cup squads have been named in the matchday squad by Director of Rugby Alex Austerberry. Welsh international Georgia Evans and Scottish international Coreen Grant return at flanker and wing respectively, with Jodie Rettie and Lotte Clapp poised to make an impact from the bench, alongside new recruit Louise McMillan.
There is a settled look to Austerberry’s pack, with Moore joined in the backrow by the returning Evans and the impressive Sharifa Kasolo, with Fi McIntosh leading the side on the field, from second row. Regular co-captain Clapp will look to make an impact off the bench having returned from international duty in New Zealand with the USA.
There are also two noteworthy names at halfback, with Ella Wyrwas returning from injury to start at scrum half and Katie Johnson making her first start for the club at fly half. Still only 19, Johnson is a product of the Oaklands College Pathway system at the club and has represented England at age-group level.
Cara Wardle and Hannah Casey will form the centre pairing for their side, whilst Abi Evans and Isla Alejandro will look to attack from the back three alongside Grant. For Alejandro, she will also be coming up against her former club for the second time in three matches.
On the bench, new signing Flo Williams could also come on for her Saracens debut, having joined from Wasps ahead of the new season, whilst Taryn Schutzler is in line for her first Premier15s appearance.
With a large number of players now back from international duty, Moore feels that those who have returned will only add to what the group has already started to build throughout the early weeks of the season.
“It’s great to have the internationals back. They bring a wealth of depth and experience. It’s great to have their positive energy back in camp.”
Saracens Women’s Team to play Loughborough Lightning
- Jodie Turl
- May Campbell
- Kelsey Clifford
- Fiona McIntosh (c)
- Sophie Tansley
- Georgia Evans
- Sharifa Kasolo
- Grace Moore
- Ella Wyrwas
- Katie Johnson
- Abi Evans
- Cara Wardle
- Hannah Casey
- Coreen Grant
- Isla Alejandro
- Jodie Rettie
- Mica Gooding
- Jeanina Loyola
- Taryn Schutzler
- Louise McMillan
- Anna Goddard
- Flo Williams
- Lotte Clapp