Dec 13, 2015
Saracens Women Record Bonus Point Win Over Bristol Ladies
A strong second half performance and hat trick from Lotte Clapp earned Saracens a bonus point win in their penultimate Premiership fixture versus Bristol on Sunday.
The visitor’s knew a win at Allianz would secure them a play off spot so came out of the blocks firing. Strong carries from the Bristol pack put the Southwest side on the front foot as they began to build the phases deep into Saracens territory. Fly half Elinor Snowsil put them on the scoresheet first with a drop goal after 10 minutes which she followed closely with a penalty as Saracens strayed offside in front of the posts. Saracens responded, winning a penalty of their own which was nudged to the corner and skipper Sonia Green buried over from the resulting strong driving maul. Winger Lotte Clapp got her first of the afternoon as the ball came along the backline and she showed her sublime finishing skills to cross the whitewash. Despite the two quick Saracens scores Bristol were not rattled and continued to pile on the pressure as captain Sarah Hunter muscled over from close range. The combination of Lauren Cattel and Clapp who have both recently returned from international duty together began to click as the centre floated a well timed miss pass to put the winger over in the corner and give the home side a slender 15-13 lead going into the break.
The half time changing room chat appeared to have stoked Saracens as they began to take control of the match and display the style of play that has defined them this season. Fullback Nina Vistisen made a rampaging 50 metre carry leaving several defenders in her wake to link with flanker Hannah Gallagher as she offloaded to Cattell to score. Bristol may have felt the momentum could swing back in their favour as Poppy Cleall was harshly show yellow for a knock in on in the middle of the field. The Westcountry team were unable to capitalise on the player advantage as Clapp burst down the wing shrugging off tackles to link with Cattell taking the score to 27-13.
In the final quarter Saracens replacements entered the fray and made an instant impact as flanker Becky Roby broke the line to offload to player of the match Clapp who rounded off an impressive performance with a well earned hat trick. Saracens now have one final fixture in the league versus Aylesford at Allianz next Sunday before moving into the Premiership semi final playoffs in early January.
Saracens head coach Rob Cain spoke after the match – “Today was always going to a tough game. Bristol are a very hard-working team and dangerous with ball in hand and that coupled with them having to win to secure their play offs we knew that they would bring energy and physicality to the game. The first half our execution and accuracy wasn't as crisp as it has been but full credit to Bristol, they turned up and did everything we thought they would. Our mindset, work rate and some wonderful finishing by Lotte Clapp kept the team’s momentum going with a small lead at half time. Our execution, accuracy and awareness was much improved in the second half and this allowed us to dominate the last half hour of the game. Each week different players keep stepping up when the going gets tough and Nina Vistisen, Hannah Gallagher, Lotte Clapp and Karlee Walters really stood out for this. It was great to see our bench bring energy and keep the tempo high and fantastic to have our Canadian prop Olivia de Merchant back to match fitness after missing her for 3 games. Replacement Becky Roby also really caught the eye today, setting up a great try after a strong line break near the end of the game. Lots and lots of positives but still lots to work on before next week’s home game against Aylesford.”
Tries: Green (22) Clapp (27,39,75) Cattell (54,69)
Conversions: Cattel (55)
Tries: Hunter (32)
Penalty: Snowsil (16)
Conversion: Snowsil (33)
Drop goal: Snowsil (12)
Saracens Women: 15 Nina Vistisen; 14 Ama Mayes; 13 Lauren Cattell; 12 Brooke Sim; 11 Lotte Clapp; 10 April Brown; 9 Georgia Gulliver; 1.Karlee Walters; 2 May Campbell; 3 Geri Thomas 4 Marcella Collins; 5 Lauren Newman; 6 Poppy Cleall; 7 Hannah Gallagher; 8 Sonia Green (c)
Replacements: 16 Olivia de Merchant; 17 Jen Taylor; 18 Becky Roby; 19; Cathy Freeman; 20 Georgia Peedle; 21 Rachael Potter