TEAM NEWS | Wasps vs Saracens Women
A London Derby is always a significant affair and tomorrow afternoon will be no different, as Saracens Women take on Wasps.
It goes without saying that the entire rugby community are delighted that the match will be able to go ahead, and that Wasps Women will be able to continue playing at Twyford Avenue.
Co-captain Cara Wardle is expecting to come up against a Wasps side with a point to prove tomorrow afternoon, as she and her teammates hunt for a third win in a row.
“We know the situation with Wasps, and we know that they will be coming out all guns blazing after a weekend off. We have to stick to what we’ve been doing. We’ve had close games, but we’ve also been building. We’ve been getting better each week in certain areas, but we need to come out of the blocks fast and keep going.”
Last weekend against Loughborough Lightning, it was the boot of Lisa Martin that edged her side to victory. Whilst Wardle wants her side to continue searching for a complete performance, she was delighted with how her side ground out the victory at home.
“It was really important mentally for us. We knew that Loughborough was going to be a challenging game. They’ve got a load of speed and a lot of youngsters. For us, it was important to get the win. Near the end it was close but as a group we know that we can do it and we can stick together in those moments. We know that we can grind it out too.”
The Allianz Cup has provided Director of Rugby Alex Austerberry with an opportunity to blood some youngsters within his squad, with a number of them stepping up and showing that they have what it takes at this level. Wardle believes that their performances will add additional depth within the side once the internationals return from New Zealand.
“We’ve had lots of youngsters coming through. Katie Johnson made her debut last week and it’s so important to give those girls the opportunity. It’s important for the girls to stick their hands up and show what they can do,” she explained.
“Hopefully then, they can keep their spot going in to the Premier15s. When the internationals come back, it will be even more competitive than it already is. People can’t think that the shirt is theirs, they have to really fight for it.”
This weekend, a number of those talented young players will have a final cup match to prove what they can do. They will be aided though, by the return of Hannah Casey to the side, having missed last weekend’s match against Loughborough.
Up front, Mica Gooding starts at loosehead, whilst Sarah Bebbington makes her first start of the season too, in the backrow. Despite a slight reshuffle of the personnel, it is otherwise a very similar to the matchday 23 that took to the field against Loughborough.
Wardle has also been sharing captain’s duties with Fi McIntosh throughout the cup run, whilst May Campbell has also stepped into a leadership role within the side. It’s a position that Wardle has been relishing and she took the time to explain how it will aid her once the internationals return from the world cup.
“It's been great. For me, it’s a nice way to improve. It’s been nice to have that leadership role and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a chance to lead and explain to youngsters how to do things, but also, it’s nice to do that with the likes of Fi and May who have so much experience. We know that when the internationals come back in, we have our voices, and we can also lead.”
Saracens Women’s Team vs Wasps:
- Mica Gooding
- May Campbell
- Kelsey Clifford
- Fiona McIntosh
- Sophie Tansley
- Sarah Bebbington
- Sharifa Kasolo
- Grace Moore
- Anna Goddard
- Lisa Martin
- Abi Evans
- Cara Wardle
- Hannah Casey
- Lucy Biggs
- Isla Alejandro
- Jodie Turl
- Chloe Flanagan
- Jeani Loyola
- Taryn Schutzler
- Abbie Picking
- Eloise Bloomfield
- Katie Johnston
- Kirsty Exley