Saracens - Austerberry demands improvement

Jan 20, 2019

Austerberry demands improvement

It is often the way with top teams: that their success is determined not by the games in which they cruise to victory but by the ones where they don’t play well but still manage to grind out a win.

That was the case on Saturday when Saracens Women battled past a spirited Gloucester-Hartpury, surviving a nervous last five minutes under pressure and with 14 players.

Last weekend they were outplayed by Harlequins for 70 minutes yet turned the game on its head in the last ten for a dramatic last-gasp triumph.

The Women in Black are finding ways to win and remain top of the table, but for head coach Alex Austerberry it is not enough and he has challenged his players to improve.

“The result cannot mask the fact that again we did not perform in the manner we expect of ourselves,” he said. “Teams are going to impact the way we play and how effective we are and all credit must go to Gloucester-Hartpury as they challenged us and we did not find answers. 

“The disappointing elements are the ones we can control - energy, work rate and discipline. We were second best in several areas and fell below the standards we set ourselves and that is something we will work on and have to rectify in training.”

It was not all negative from the game which saw Saracens score five tries - two from Sarah McKenna and one each from Bryony Cleall, Hannah Casey and May Campbell. McKenna and player of the match Zoe Harrison were particularly impressive.

“There were some positives in attack and we scored some good tries,” Austerberry continued. “Sarah McKenna made a big impact on the game. 

“We showed other glimpses of quality attacking pay but we have to ensure we have a quality end product to everything we do.”

Saracens Women play Bristol Bears Women at Allianz Park next Saturday before the Tyrells Premier 15s breaks for the Six Nations.

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