Dec 09, 2018
Austerberry praises defence after another victory to nil
Head coach Alex Austerberry praised his team’s defence after Saracens Women recorded their third successive victory to nil on Saturday.
The Women in Black scored nine tries to down Darlington Mowden Park Sharks 59-0, continuing in the same vein as the wins over Worcester Valkyries (63-0) and Loughborough Lightning (29-0) to cement their position at the top of the Tyrrells Premier 15s table.
“At the start of this season we said that defence was going to be a big part of our identity,” said Austerberry. “That energises us and is our source of energy, so it’s a real positive that it’s reaping some rewards for us.
“We scored some really important points from our defence, and a clean sheet is a real representation of what we want to do.
“We were a little bit lucky that we didn’t get a couple of scores against us today, but ultimately that’s testament to our scramble defence when we did get broken. So yes, it’s hugely positive.”
Saracens were 38-0 up at the break after a strong first-half display and scored two tries in quick succession early in the second half, but thereafter the game became a little scrappy and a penalty try 15 minutes from time was the last of the scoring.
“There were a lot of good performances, and we just need as a group to not let the last 15 minutes cloud what was a pretty good display,” Austerberry continued.
“The first half we played intelligently, executed our game plan well and were good value for the half-time score. In the second half we allowed it to turn into a scrap and we didn’t help ourselves with two yellow cards from in and around breakdowns.
“That was disappointing and where we’ve got to learn, as that will cost us in other games. We need to make sure we stay disciplined, not let our standards drop and more importantly not let our discipline drop around those areas.
“There were some good performances out there. It was good to see Cara Wardle come back into the side and I thought she made some brilliant carries. The pack was excellent in general mauling – we said we wanted to be really effective there with opportunities and I think we did that.
“Fleeto (Vicky Fleetwood) was very good – very energetic on the ball and really effective around the breakdown. I thought she was unlucky with the yellow card, and she gave us a lot of energy today.”