Sep 07, 2016
Saracens Women To Kick Off Campaign At Allianz Park
Saracens Women return to Allianz Park this Sunday where they will open their Premiership campaign versus northern side, DMP Sharks.
The home side finished runners up in both the Premiership and National Cup last season and will keen to emulate the success of 2014/15 where they claimed the historic double. Their opponents placed 7th in the table and Saracens Women enjoyed comfortable bonus point wins in both league clashes last season, marching to a 42-8 victory when the two last last met at Allianz Park in the Cup semi final in April.
Past results aside, head coach Rob Cain is not taking anything for granted and is expecting a physical encounter. “I know all the players are looking forward to our first challenge this Sunday against a side who will be very physical and organised. They have a very strong set piece and some dangerous threats outside.”
The squad has enjoyed a busy off season competing across the sevens circuit which was rounded off with victory at the Women’s Premiership 7s last month. Cain feels it has put the squad in a solid position moving into their preseason block, bolstering morale and embedding new players into the mix. “We’ve pushed the players hard during this period and they have responded by continuing to rise to all the challenges we have thrown at them” said Cain. “It's been a lot of fun as we’ve evolved and developed from last year with the addition of new backroom staff and players. All have added a new dimension to what we are doing. Neil and Lewis have settled in really well and have brought lots of energy and I’m looking forward to working alongside them both.”
Cain is encouraged by the strength and depth of his squad given the long list of injuries he faces. “We have many experienced injured players who will be returning over the coming weeks all chomping at the bit to be involved adding even more inner competition. It’s also going to be great to see Vicky Fleetwood and Sarah McKenna both return when fit and run out in their club shirt after taking a year out of club playing sevens for England and GB.” With a squad which is likely to feature some new faces, Cain doesn’t expect complete perfection from round 1. “We are looking to build as the games come at us throughout the season and it’s all about peaking at the right times. For me I am excited to see the team play. Last year we really developed as a side and the additions we have had over the summer will hopefully allow to continue that growth.”
Experienced Saracen Sonia Green returns to skipper the side again this season and believes the future’s bright for the women's side. “Teams will be out to challenge us and knock us from the top” said Green. “For us it's a fresh start as we draw a line in the sand after some disappointment last season. Last year we lost a number of experienced players through retirement but the benefit of this was building the club with the young and exciting talent we gained, enabling us to finish where we did. This season is even bigger and better with many England players returning after their international commitments and a number of new under 20 internationals. We are very lucky to have a new team behind us. Pre season has been one of the best I can remember and the energy at each session is giving coaches tough decisions for the first game this weekend. The injection of young players coupled with an experienced coaching and support team is exciting and I can't wait to return to Allianz Park this weekend.”