Dec 20, 2015
Saracens Women sign 2015 off in style
Saracens Women march into the Premiership semi finals full of confidence after an impressive 68-5 demolition of Aylesford Bulls.
After running in eleven tries in the away fixture against the Bulls on the opening day of the campaign, Saracens went one better as they put a dozen past them in an attacking masterclass at Allianz Park yesterday. A second half hat trick from centre Lauren Cattell and a brace from Poppy Cleall and Olivia de Merchant helped the home side to seal their thirteenth win out a of a possible fourteen on the last day of the standard league season.
Aylesford came out firing as their strong scrum and direct running caused the home side issues in the opening exchanges and were unlucky when Saracens were able to score against the run of play; a break from flanker Poppy Cleall finished off by winger Lotte Clapp.
It wasn’t long before the visitors struck back as a loose Saracens pass was hacked through and Aylesford scored. These would be the only points they would get on the board for the afternoon as Saracens began to ramp up through the gears and begin to find their flow. Pressure deep into the visitors half was rewarded as Cleall charged down the kick to score, closely followed by some patient passages of play for winger Ama Mayes to cross in the corner. Flanker Hannah Gallagher saw an opportunity as she sniped around the fringes to get on the scoresheet. Pressure building, skipper Sonia Green put in a bone-crunching tackle forcing the turnover which back row partner Cleall tidied up to barge through the defence and take the score to 29-5; the bonus point secured in the first half.
Saracens continued to turn the screw in the second half as second row Fi Sim put in a beautiful offload to prop Olivia de Merchant who bulldozed through to score. The Aylesford defence was stretched as April Brown and Brooke Sim played their part in a slick passing manoeuvre with Cattell finishing. The centre was also instrumental in the next score as she danced through to link expertly with Brooke Sim – a partnership which is maturing nicely week on week. Saracens began to empty their bench and fresh legs allowed the tempo to rise again. Fi Sim crashing over from close range and a powerful scrum, featuring young England under 20’s prop Elena Perry on her debut, put Aylesford on the back foot, allowing the ball to be swung out wide for Cattell to score. The scrum again proved to be a useful weapon in the second half as Player of the Match, de Merchant crossed for her second of the day following a series of tight picks.
Cattell rounded off 2015 with a hat trick after a superb solo effort and added the extras to take the final score to 68-5.
Saracens Women finish the league in second place and head into the play off semi finals with a home advantage against Lichfield on Sunday 10th January at Allianz Park.
Head coach Rob Cain – “Full credit to Aylesford, they played some very physical and positive rugby and really took the game to us. I’m really proud of the girls problem solving skills and work rate. They found the solutions and then scored some exciting and clinical tries and continued to raise the tempo all the way until the end of game. Today continued to show how strong our squad is with several players getting their first starts of the year and debuts for the club.
"The bench for the second week came on and continued to impress and allowed us to raise the tempo even faster in the later stages of the game. Each week the opposition raises their performance to play us and each week the girls respond with an improved performance from the previous game with different players leading from the front. It’s now time for us to enjoy a short Christmas break before we turn our focus to the next challenge of Lichfield in the play off semi finals.”
Final score: Saracens 68 Aylesford Bulls 5
Tries: Clapp (10) Cleall (20,39) Mayes (25) Gallagher (32) de Merchant (44, 69) Cattell (54, 68, 79) B Sim (57) F Sim (64)
Conversions: Cattell x 4
Saracens Women: 15 Georgia Peedle; 14 Ama Mayes; 13 Lauren Cattell; 12 Brooke Sim; 11 Lotte Clapp; 10 April Brown; 9 Cathy Freeman; 1.Olivia de Merchant; 2 Kat Evans; 3 Geri Thomas 4 Marcella Collins; 5 Fi Sim; 6 Poppy Cleall; 7 Hannah Gallagher; 8 Sonia Green (c)
Replacements: 16 Elena Perry; 17 Jen Taylor; 18 Becky Roby; 19; Lauren Newman; 20; Anna Stodter; 21 Rebecca Bushell