Nov 21, 2016
Saracens Women Cup Campaign Off To Winning Start
Saracens Women opened their Cup campaign with a 22-8 victory over Worcester Valkyries at Allianz Park on Sunday.
Three first half tries courtesy of Zoe Harrison, Garnet Mackinder and debutant Emma Uren gave the home side a 17-0 lead at the break and despite a Worcester resurgence in the second period with a score through Harriet Dunn and a Megan Goddard penalty, Sarries were able to close the game out with a Nina Vistisen try.
Having lost to Valkyries at home in the Premiership earlier this season and with a mixed start to the league, Rob Cain’s side were looking to get their Cup campaign off to flying start. With both sides missing players to international duty, the majority of the early exchanges took place in the centre of the park with neither side able to penetrate.
It was the home side that eventually broke the deadlock after 27 minutes, a patient build up dragged the Worcester defence in for Saracens to stretch the ball wide to winger Uren to score on her debut. Sarries crossed for their second straight off the restart as the ball was recycled quickly through the hands of Charlotte Barras and Georgia Peedle to find Garnet Mackinder – the winger putting the burners on to run in from half way.
The momentum swung firmly in favour of the home side as they began to find gaps in the previously watertight Worcester defence. Bryony Cleall is finding her feet in the No8 jersey as she punched through and made gainline yards with every carry. Zoe Harrison added another for Saracens before halftime; the fly half selling the dummy to glide through under the posts to take the score to 17-0 at the break.
A series of infringements from the home side allowed Worcester centre Ceri Large the opportunity to kick for territory to good effect and Saracens were forced to defend their line. A well worked catch and drive saw prop Harriet Dunn crash over to open the Valkyries account.
The visitors continued to threaten the Saracens line and flanker Lauren Newman was shown yellow for not rolling away at the breakdown, but despite the numerical advantage could not breach the resolute Sarries defence. Player of the match Emma Uren showed not only her attacking threat with ball in hand but also her ability to front up in defence, putting in some essential tackles in open play. Rob Cain will be encouraged by how comfortable the nineteen year old looked on her first start for the club, alongside a handful of other debutants who made their mark as they took to the field.
Nina Vistisen went over for Saracens fourth of the afternoon with a superb solo effort, dancing her way through from 50 metres out to leave a number of defenders in her wake.
In the final minute, substitute Charlotte Hamlyn Williams was yellow carded for a breakdown offence and Worcester opted for the three points through fly half Megan Goddard. It was small consolation as the final whistle blew to seal a Saracens win and get their cup campaign up and running.
Speaking after the match, Rob Cain said: “It was a great start to the Cup with an exciting, determined and aggressive performance from the players. We have been working hard on a few areas of our game and it really showed today. Defensively we were more aggressive and our work rate stayed there for the full game which was very pleasing as Worcester had us under some serious pressure 20 minutes after half time. We worked the ball into space better and gave our threats more opportunities. It was fantastic to have so many debutants and each one of them really took their opportunities. This win gives us the chance to build some momentum going back into the Premiership next week.”
Saracens Women face Lichfield Ladies in Round 8 of the Women’s Premiership next Saturday at Allianz Park, kick off 13h00. Entry is free.
Tries: Uren (27); Mackinder (29); Harrison (34); Vistisen (66)
Cons: Harrison 1/4
Replacements used: Collins for Stodter (40); Dowsett for Peedle (53); Hamlyn Williams for Craddock (69); Goddard for Barras (71); Robinson for Newman (72’); Galligan for Roby (73); Bloomfield for Mackinder (78)
Yellow card: Newman (55) Hamlyn Williams (79)
Worcester Valkyries Ladies
Tries: Dunne (46)
Cons: Goddard 0/1
Pens: Goddard (80)