MATCH REACTION | Alex Austerberry (AP15s Rd14)
Alex Austerberry believed that his side showed “some excellent passages of play,” as they dispatched DMP Sharks 73-0 at Billingham RFC.
Austerberry’s side scored seven tries in the first half and a further six in the second, as they ran away with the match. Whilst he still felt that his side could have taken more of their chances, Austerberry couldn’t helped but show his pride in the performance of his side since the beginning of the new year.
“We found space well and executed well. Sometimes, that let us down at times, but we stood up well defensively against a physical side that kept on coming. For this block of games, to do what we’ve done over these ten league games and to put ourselves right in the fight, it’s been a brilliant effort. If you’d offered me this result at the start of the day, I would have bitten your hand off.”
Backrow Sharifa Kasolo put in another outstanding performance in the backrow, with two tries and a dominant display throughout. Austerberry was delighted with the levels shown by his new backrow star, praising Kasolo for how quickly she has settled into life at Saracens.
“Speaking about Shaz individually, her rise has been very impressive. It’s not just playing at this level, but she competes and shines too. She’s always involved and is extremely physical in attack and defence. Her hard work and her industry can only help to maximise her talent, but you could say that about everyone that has played in this block.”
Austerberry also highlighted the hard work throughout the group, believing that it has been a defining factor for his side throughout this block of matches. He also insisted that his side need to keep applying the pressure, heading into the final few league matches of the season.
“We’re working hard and that’s allowing people’s individual talent to come to the fore. We’ve for the cup campaign now and then a bit of time to really focus going into a crucial period. We’re in the running now, so it’s whether we can take control of the race.”
Young gun Katie Johnson also impressed off the bench, with Austerberry noting that she will get more opportunities in the upcoming cup fixtures.
“Defensively, Katie was outstanding. She’s great with ball in hand, but to stand up physically like she did was very good. She’ll get more opportunities now in the cup too and there’s an opportunity next week against Wasps to get ourselves into another semi-final, which is hugely important.”
That cup match against Wasps could set up a semi-final with Gloucester-Hartpury and Austerberry was keen to assert that performances in the cup will help dictate the rest of the league campaign.
“The cup and the league aren’t different campaigns, they complement each other, so this next phase is going to be crucial for us.”