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Saracens Women were unable to follow on from the success of their male counterparts as they fell to a defeat at the hands of Worcester Valkyries at Allianz Park yesterday.
In an uncharacteristic error strewn performance from last year’s Premiership finalists, the visitors were able to take a slender five point lead into half time before going over twice in the second forty to seal the win.
Bianca Blackburn got the visitors on the scoreboard after nine minutes as Sarries scramble defence was unable to stop a series of offloads resulting in the scrumhalf diving over. A fierce defensive effort lead by flankers Becky Roby and Lauren Newman limited the damage as Saracens were starved of possession and saw very little ball.
Saracens got off to a poor start in the second half – a knock on from the restart and a penalty for offside allowed the visitors to kick for the corner and assert immediate pressure. Lauren Newman was shown yellow for killing the ball, reducing the home side to 14 players. Opting for the scrum, a series of penalties ensued, forcing the referee to point under the posts for a penalty try. Worcester centre Zoe Bennion then breached the Sarries defence slipping through tackles to go over for Worcester’s third of the afternoon.
A raft of substitutions appeared to lift the tempo as the home side began to build the phases and challenge for a foothold in the game. A storming break from winger Seraphine Okemba and a resulting penalty gave Sarries the opportunity to kick for the corner and pressure Worcester’s line. A series of tight picks from the Saracens pack inched them closer and the home side thought they’d done enough for their first score of the afternoon but the referee was not happy with the grounding. It wasn’t long until Sarries were rewarded however – a well placed kick from Zoe Harrison put the Worcester defence on the back foot and with Lisa Campbell shown yellow for an infringement on the line, Sarries immediately capitalised with prop Geri Thomas burrowing over. It was too little too late though as the clock ticked over and Saracens were unable to claw anything further from the match.
Speaking after the match, head coach Rob Cain said: “No excuses we just weren’t good enough today and Worcester deserved the win. The girls gave themselves a lifeline in the first 40 minutes making tackle after tackle with Worcester controlling the ball for almost 30 minutes.
“Our basics let us down and for the first time this season we weren’t able to create many opportunities. We did some silly things at the wrong time and were our own worst enemy and our execution was poor.
“We struggled up front today and without any concrete set piece ball we weren’t able to build any momentum and we lived off scraps when they presented themselves. Emily and Claire showed exciting glimpses of what we will see in future weeks and Zoe gave a performance beyond her 18 years, typified by her try saving chase down tackle which was a big reason we managed to get a losing bonus point which could be all important come the end of the season.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us but to be still siting third in the table with so many new faces and combinations is a real positive which we will use to kick on.”
Tries: Thomas (71)
Cons: Harrison 0/1
Replacements used: Barras for Peedle (34); Craddock for Walters (44); Gattlin for Collins (50); Fredrickson for Stodter (55); Potter for Scott (60)
Yellow card: Newman (41)
Tries: Blackburn (9); Penalty try (43) Bennion (54)
Cons: Goddard 2/3
Replacements used: Fisher for O’ Donnell (40); Keates for Davis (50); Campbell for Powell (54); Hiscox for Haigh (63); S. Parker for R. Parker (70); Bunce for Balmer (70); Mavroudis for Bree (70)
Yellow card: Campbell (70)
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A much changed squad to that which faced Bristol as our Welsh and Scottish internationals return, with debut starts for Shona Powell-Hughes at number eight and Dyddgu Hywel at fullback.
The team sheet also sees an exciting comeback to the Worcester setup in Heather Fisher.
|09/10/2016||5:00 pm||Women's Premiership||2016-17|