TEAM NEWS | SARACENS WOMEN VS HARLEQUINS WOMEN (AP15S RD11)
With both sides level on points and the league table tighter than ever before, there’s an even greater sense of intrigue this weekend, as Saracens Women and Harlequins prepare to lock horns in The Duel.
Last weekend, Saracens secured a thumping 71-5 victory away at Sale Sharks, to take them up to third in the table; ahead of Harlequins only by virtue of points difference.
There has been a real sense of momentum over the last few weeks within the camp, with co-captain Lotte Clapp believing that her side are starting to find their form again.
“As a side, we’re starting to click. The beginning of January was almost like pre-season for us. We had lots of players away at the World Cup. We’ve just started coming into our own.”
With a huge attendance expected at StoneX Stadium, all eyes will be on both sides. Harlequins secured victory over Saracens earlier in the season, but Clapp doesn’t think that the result will have any impact on the outcome at StoneX.
“It isn’t on our minds too much. We tend to have those results with Quins where it’s one game each way. I’m backing the girls to do it this weekend.”
The crowd can always be a huge factor in driving the side forward on the pitch. Clapp was adamant that having the huge crowd in attendance will only help to motivate her side.
“Having the crowd here makes such a difference. To hear them and have them shouting and screaming from the sidelines brings the energy levels up a huge amount. Being able to have the crowd this weekend is going to be huge.”
Ahead of this one, Director of Rugby Alex Austerberry has picked an unchanged starting XV from the victory over Sale Sharks.
Maya Montiel continues her impressive start to life in a Saracens shirt at loosehead prop, with May Campbell and Kelsey Clifford joining her in the front row.
Fi McIntosh and Louise McMillan continue their enterprising second row partnership, whilst Georgia Evans, co-captain Marlie Packer and Poppy Cleall make up the backrow.
At halfback, Ella Wyrwas and Zoe Harrison will look to inject pace into the side, with Sarah McKenna and Sydney Gregson continuing the centre partnership that looked so threatening against Sale.
In the back three, co-captain Clapp is joined by Coreen Grant and Jess Breach, after the trio scored four tries between them in Manchester.
The only change to the matchday squad sees the return of Leanne Infante, with Saracens opting for a 6-2 split on the bench for the second weekend in a row.
Clapp is expecting a bruising encounter on Saturday and admitted that it’s the match that her side look forward to when the fixtures are released.
“It’s always a game that we look forward to. It’s a huge match-up. Both sides bring huge physicality and power to the game. It’s the big one and we’re looking forward to it.”
Saracens Women Squad vs Harlequins Women
- Maya Montiel
- May Campbell
- Kelsey Clifford
- Fi McIntosh
- Louise McMillan
- Georgia Evans
- Marlie Packer (co-captain)
- Poppy Cleall
- Ella Wyrwas
- Zoe Harrison
- Lotte Clapp (co-captain)
- Sarah McKenna
- Sydney Gregson
- Coreen Grant
- Jess Breach
- Jodie Rettie
- Mica Gooding
- Alex Ellis
- Catha Jacobs
- Sharifa Kasolo
- Grace Moore
- Leanne Infante
- Cara Wardle