Apr 05, 2016
Saracens Women book Cup Final place
A strong second half performance at Allianz Park in the semi final on Sunday pushes Saracens through to the National Cup Final against London rivals Richmond on Saturday 23rd April.
Saracens will look to finish the season with some silverware in a repeat of this year’s Premiership final which saw Richmond take the title back in January.
The defending Cup champions were quick out of the blocks and instantly piled on the pressure in the early exchanges. A trademark break from centre Brooke Sim followed by an infringement at the breakdown allowed fly half April Brown to slot the kick and get the scoreboard ticking over.
Winger Deborah Fleming crossed in the corner shortly after however the score was disallowed after the pass was deemed to be forward. It didn’t take Saracens long before crossing again with a turnover from Harriet Austin, who proved to be a constant threat around the park, the ball moved quickly out wide for full back Nina Vistisen to power over.
The home side could have put the game to bed much earlier had it not been for several errors close to the DMP line. A smart nudge through from winger Charlotte Barras just couldn’t stick metres out and the ball held up over the line on a couple of occasions by some resolute DMP defence. The Saracens scrum was firing on all cylinders allowing skipper Green to gain yards off the back and a sneaky inside ball from scrum half Georgie Gulliver put Cleall through the hole to score. Brown added the extras taking the score to 17-0 after 20 minutes. The visitors refused to back down and some smart kicking from the fly half allowed them to gain some valuable territory. Winning the penalty, DMP opted for the posts with the kick cooly slotted from 35 metres out by Sam Jamieson. Sharks crossed for their only try of the match as a kick through was fumbled by Fleming and Green allowing flanker Ruth Nash to pounce over giving the visitors a glimmer of hope going into the break.
Following a few stern words in the changing rooms, Saracens regrouped after the break and began to take a hold of the match. A quick penalty from Gulliver put Saracens on the front foot and after several strong carries by the pack, Barras spotted the gap to go over in the corner. Second row Lauren Newman was again outstanding in the air securing ball leading to a powerful maul which was illegally dragged down 5 metres out. Playing the advantage, prop Geri Thomas muscled her way over. Fleming crossed for her second of the afternoon as she found herself on the end of a perfectly floated pass from Brooke Sim. Newman looked certain to get her name on the scoresheet following a break from 60 metres out however a determined DMP defence dragged her down metres short. Ill-discipline from both teams saw players sent to the bin in close succession but it was the home side that fared better as they scored again through quick thinking from Gulliver, finished by Vistisen.
The scrum half was instrumental in dictating the successful fast tempo of the match all afternoon so it was unfortunate that she left the field injured following a searing break with only minutes left to play. Fleming had the final say of the semi final as she broke from her own 22 metre line and outpaced the DMP defence to close the game at 42-8.
Head coach Rob Cain spoke after the match - “It’s a fantastic achievement from everyone at the club to reach another final this season and be able to defend our National Cup title. Yesterday was our best performance as a team of our cup campaign and each week individuals step up and the whole group continues to impress and are really taking their opportunities. April Brown fully deserved her player of the match award today as she was brilliant at pulling the strings. We scored some great tries, played smart and aggressive rugby but we did leave a few more tries out there but full credit to everyone as each week we challenge the players and each week they respond.”
Final score: Saracens Women 42 DMP Sharks 8
Tries: Vistisen (2), Cleall, Barras, Thomas, Fleming (2) Penalties: Brown, Conversions: Brown x 2
Saracens Women: 15; Nina Vistisen 14; Charlotte Barras; 13 Georgia Peedle; 12 Brooke Sim; 11 Deborah Fleming; 10 April Brown; 9 Georgie Gulliver; 1.Geri Thomas; 2 May Campbell; 3 Jeanni Vinueza Yoyola; 4 Marcella Collins; 5; Lauren Newman, 6 Poppy Cleall; 7 Harriet Austin; 8 Sonia Green (c)
Replacements: 16 Mica Evans; 17 Jeanine Stephenson; 18 Anna Stodter; 19; Fiona Sim; 20;Jen Taylor; 21; Loz Morton; 22; Eloise Bloomfield