Austerberry relieved to have Cup destiny in own hands
After an opening round defeat to Worcester and a difficult time at Loughborough, Saracens concluded their run of Allianz Cup fixtures with an emphatic 31-0 victory over Sale Sharks at StoneX Stadium.
“It was a good win, hard fought. I thought we were scrappy in large parts of the first half. Probably kind of ill-disciplined in terms of action, and then also in terms of our execution.” Said Head Coach Alex Austerberry.
He continued: “We addressed a lot of things at half time, Lewis and the team talked it through. The girls came out in the second half, and it was a much more energised performance.
“A big turnover about five minutes into the second half gave us a real load of energy. Then I thought from there we did well, the scrum was very solid, then we scored a couple of cracking tries.”
Despite not registering a point themselves, Sale’s industrious defence made life hard for the Women in Black. The physical nature of the game contributed to injuries for both sides, in particular captain Cara Wardle, who was forced off soon after scoring her sublime try.
“Ultimately, it was a very blood and guts game, quite literally blood and guts. We won a fight and that’s a credit to the group. So, to come away with a bonus point against a team that were fighting tooth and nail is a real credit and a real good result.
“We’ve kept the destiny of the cup in our own hands, and after round one it was important that we backed it up with victories in rounds two and three.”
With a number of internationals away, these three cup fixtures were bound to prove arduous for Saracens. But Austerberry was quick to praise those who have stepped up and made their mark on the side in the past three weeks.
“I think the biggest thing for me is some of the players have not had much exposure. They’ve stepped up to the plate, they’ve kicked on. It’s going to be interesting when everyone is back in the week after next. A real tough selection come the Gloucester-Hartpury game.
“It’s a really positive step forward for the entire group, I think the value of this will be in the next few weeks but also in seasons to come. I’m really happy with where we’re at.”
After the three cup games in a row, Saracens now have just under two weeks to prepare for their next fixture, an Allianz Premier 15s match away to Gloucester-Hartpury on the 27th November.
Written by Rhys Jones.