Apr 06, 2018
We are ready, excited and motivated - Cain
Saracens Women head coach Rob Cain says his side are “ready, excited and motivated to get what we need" from their first semi final away leg against Gloucester-Hartpury on Saturday.
"We are very proud of our performances so far and to finish top of the pile is great reward for all the hard work the players and support staff have put in. It shows real consistency and also highlights how much inner competition we have throughout the squad to be able to field strong teams week in, week out. It’s been very satisfying to see so many players deservedly playing in the Premier 15s throughout the year and everyone making their own personal statements. This has been such a tough league in terms of physicality with tough challenges presented to us each and every week so to finish top is a great feeling.
“Whilst we enjoyed the celebrations last weekend after the Bristol win, it was straight back to business and the hard work continues. With knock out rugby anything can happen so we want to make sure we that we really focus on the small details to make the big things happen. In terms of managing the squad, it’s the old cliché of taking it one game at a time. The only difference being we are playing the same opposition for 160 minutes instead of the regular 80.”
Sarries have named a familiar squad boasting a blend of youth and experience, with six players under the age of twenty involved on Saturday, a combination which has proved to be dangerous throughout the season. Despite their lack of experience, Cain has confidence in his squad’s ability to deliver in the later stages of the competition.
“For some players this will be their first experience of knock out rugby so there may be a few more nerves but nothing else changes. We’ve had some big games during the regular season which will stand us in good stead for this challenge and are lucky to have some great leaders throughout the squad who have had that big game experience. Our young players have continued to develop and impress every round with some earning the right to starting shirts in only their first year of senior rugby which is a phenomenal achievement. Unfortunately this first semi final weekend coincided with an England U20s camp and we had eight players away with this so we’ve had to modify our prep this week. We had them released back to us on Thursday and they’ve got straight back into it. They are all very mature with such professional mind sets and despite a few tired bodies I’m confident they will bring the energy they’ve brought all season come game day.”
Gloucester-Hartpury were new kids on the block having not been involved with the Women’s Premiership in previous years and have quickly adapted to life in the top tier securing their fourth placed finish.
“Gloucester-Hartpury have improved throughout the season and we know what a threat they can be. They proved that when they came to Allianz and nearly caused an upset in our back yard. They like to play high tempo, front foot rugby through their forwards and have asked questions of defences when they get into the wide channels. They have shown all season how dangerous they are ball in hand and I think whoever controls the collision areas will have a big say in the result across the matches.”
Saracens Women found themselves in a slightly different situation this time last year, battling into the top four with only one shot at a finals place which was denied to them by eventual runners up, Bristol Ladies.
“We are a different team now” said Cain. “New faces, new combinations, a much more experienced squad playing a very different type of rugby. To make the play offs last year was a huge achievement for us and for players involved last time out it was a realisation of what was necessary, on and off the pitch, to kick on further than before. Finishing top this season shows how far we have come in terms of results but it’s our style and intent in how we want to play which is one of those key differences. Having more inner competition and depth with our signings over the summer has made a big difference, not just with their individual performances but in pushing others around them to also raise their game. We’ve grown together throughout the campaign and are now ready for the challenge ahead.
Tickets for the home semi final at Allianz Park on Saturday 14th April can be purchased via www.saracens.com
Entry to the game is free for season ticket holders, please bring your season ticket card with you to gain entry.
Watch Gloucester-Hartpury vs Saracens Women LIVE on www.premier15s.com on Saturday 7th April, 16h15 KO