AUSTERBERRY HAILS CHARACTER AFTER COMEBACK WIN
Saracens Women head coach Alex Austerberry praised his team’s inner belief after they came from behind to beat Harlequins in an incredible finish.
The Women in Black were 16 points down with ten minutes remaining at Allianz Park, but three tries in quick succession turned the game on its head, and the 31-28 victory moves them seven points clear of their title rivals.
A penalty try at 12-28 gave Sarries hope of a losing bonus point, but they went one better with scores from Sydney Gregson and Hannah Casey at the death.
“With 15 minutes to go and 16 points down, it was looking like a pretty dark performance,” said Austerberry. “We weren’t at the races and Quins were deservedly leading, but we got an injection of energy and I think the bench made a real difference.
“We found a bit of belief, a bit of go-forward and got that one score, backed it up with a second score and just put ourselves in the fight.
“By the end, to score in the corner in the last few second, it was about as exciting and nerve-wracking as it gets. It was every emotion wrapped into one, and it’s nice to come out with the points.
“I think the girls showed tremendous character. The performance wasn’t necessarily great, but that last ten minutes showed a lot about us. There was a lot of heart, and ultimately a lot of quality to score those tries against a very good Quins team who pushed us all the way.”
Once the euphoria of the last-gasp victory wears off, Austerberry knows there is work to do if Saracens are to claim the title come April.
“It’s a brilliant feeling, but there is some work to do,” he continued.
“Credit has to go to the opposition. Quins came out and played a physical brand of rugby and executed it well. We made some silly mistakes which, like good teams do, capitalised on and punished and we found ourselves behind.
“We didn’t look like we were going to find a foothold. I would like to say we were chasing it, but actually we were quite supressed by their play. The injection of energy from the likes of Sydney (Gregson) and Kay (Searcy) off the bench made the difference.
“And I’ve got to say Poppy Cleall showed why she’s one the names people fear when she came on. And the inner belief that came in the last 15 minutes was the real difference today.”