Oct 04, 2018
Classy McKenna finding her feet again
The way Sarah McKenna dominated the second half of the win against Richmond last weekend, you would not think she has found the transition back to the 15s format tricky.
The inside centre put in a player-of-the-match performance to help Saracens to a 12-30 win and maintain their 100% record this season, superbly linking the play with her range of passing.
It was McKenna’s fourth start of the campaign since returning from Sevens, but she admits it has taken longer to feel comfortable again than she had anticipated.
“I’ve struggled settling back in,” she said. “The game has massively changed since I’ve been out. It’s been really refreshing to see some of the differences and how the game has moved on, but it has taken a little longer than I expected.
“The space runs out a lot quicker, and you’ve got defenders coming up to you square rather than on that drift.
“It’s been tricky to manage, but especially as the game opens up in the second half, I feel like I can grow into it a bit more. Going forward I just need to find my way into the game in the first 40 minutes."
McKenna’s wonderful looping pass out to Georgie Lingham set the winger up for second-half try that was later voted the best of the week in the Tyrrells Premier 15s.
“I managed to get it out to Georgie as I think she was getting a bit cold,” she joked. “Luckily she was able to finish off with a 60-metre try. She’s got pace for days so once you give her the ball she’s hard to get down.
“Richmond put up a really good fight in the first half and we really struggled to manage the game. Fortunately we had a good word with ourselves at half-time and managed to pull it out.
I’m really excited about being back at Saracens. It’s somewhere I’ve felt I’ve played my best rugby. The club is at the forefront of the women’s game and pushing the agenda on and off the field.”
McKenna was rewarded for her fine form with a call-up to the England squad, and she will spend this weekend at a training camp at Loughborough preparing for the Quilter autumn internationals.
“I’m excited to get back in the England set-up,” she said. “There are lots of new faces and young players coming through.
“It’s always pretty full-on at training camps, with 8am starts, training all day and team meetings in the evening that can go on until 9.30pm. But I can’t wait to be part of it.”