MATCH Reaction | Alex Austerberry (AP15s Rd5)
Director of Rugby Alex Austerberry was left delighted after seeing his side put in an 11-try demolition job away at Sale Sharks.
Heywood Road is a notoriously tough place to go and Austerberry was delighted with the performance his side put in.
“Ultimately, to come away from a really tough place to play with this result, and in the manner that we played, it’s fantastic.”
As with last week against Wasps, Saracens Women made a lightning start, securing the bonus point within 15 minutes and the Director of Rugby admitted that those fast starts have been a real focus for his side.
“We’ve challenged ourselves to start better and we came out of the blocks firing. We’ve had some really tough battles at Sale, so it was nice not to be a few scores down as we have been previously! To get those first tries relatively quickly is testament to the players and their ability to hit the ground running.”
Consistency of performance has been a key focus in recent weeks and, for the most part, Austerberry was pleased with how his side kept their foot to the accelerator throughout.
“We wanted to keep pushing forward and not move too off script. At half-time, we spoke about not forcing things and earning the right to keep on playing. On the field, you want to be honest with your endeavour. There was a fifteen-minute period in the second half where we didn’t regain the control that we had, but we found it again in that last quarter.”
Whilst the pack got in on the act in the second half, this was a day for the backs, as they showed some of their best attacking rugby off the season. Centre Sydney Gregson and wing Coreen Grant were two of a number who put in barnstorming performances, with Austerberry praising the collective performance of his squad.
“Coreen and Sydney played really well but I also thought that our ability to get the ball in their hands and in space was good. That came off of a lot of good work and quick ball from the breakdown. The intent to play was really good and we had a really nice balance again. If you give good players space and time, they look brilliant and they did that today.”
This result sees Saracens move up to third by virtue of points difference. Heading into The Duel next weekend against Harlequins, both sides are level on points in the play-off places and Austerberry has challenged his side to take hold of their own destiny.
“Next week is a huge game. We need to see if we can take control of our own destiny. This side of Christmas, we’ve done some really good things, but it’s about making sure that we back that up consistently. Next week will be a challenge. We’re level on points, so let’s see if we can put in a performance that takes us ahead. At the moment, we’re battling for third place. I hope that we now don’t relinquish that until we go for another higher placing!”