Saracens - Tough words at half-time helped turn things around - Austerberry

Sep 30, 2018

Tough words at half-time helped turn things around - Austerberry

Head coach Alex Austerberry admitted his team asked some serious questions of themselves at half-time against Richmond on Saturday after a lacklustre start left them 12-5 down at the break.

The Women in Black conceded two early tries, but put their first points on the scoreboard on 40 minutes and then looked a different team after regrouping at the break, scoring five tries to win 30-12 at the Richmond Athletic Ground.  

“It’s a cliché but it was a game of two halves,” said Austerberry. “The first half we were poor in relation to where we wanted to be, and credit goes to Richmond for being more aggressive, working harder than us and asking a lot of questions that in the first half we didn’t have any answers to. 

“At half-time we just reflected back on our values, what it actually means to wear the shirt and what we want to put into the shirt every time we have the honour of wearing it. We felt as a collective that we were some way under those standards.

“It was basically a bit of a reality check of where we are and what we need to do; what we need to be in order to be the team and the individuals we want to be. It was a message that was fairly direct but it seems to have landed – and in fairness to the players, they were probably more direct than me.

“In the second half we came out with a little bit more intent and managed to deal with the breakdown threats a bit better. We played a more direct game and opened up more opportunities to score." 

The victory maintained Saracens Women’s 100 per cent record this season and they top the Tyrrells Premier 15s table after four games. However, Austerberry maintains he wants to see improvement in the team’s overall performance, despite the results.

“Going forward, we’ve got to be smarter and I would certainly question our work rate in the first half – although that did improve. That work rate underpins us scoring 30 points unanswered, which led to a good result and a much-improved performance, but we’ve got to learn to play like that for 80 minutes.” 

The team now has a two-week break before they take on Wasps at home on Saturday 13th October.

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