What could be better than a double rugby weekend at the Stonex Stadium, sadly not many other Saracens fans felt the same, we have a way to go before the Women’s games get the crowds they deserve. I attended a game around 5 years ago now at what was Allianz Park and the standard of rugby was poor, the game is unrecognisable from those times, I really do recommend giving it a go.
This game was the second cup game of the weekend and it saw Saracens with a team that included just 5 players who were in the 23 for their last Premier 15’s match on October 10th and Sale Sharks had just 7 from their 23 who played on October 9th. That shows good strength of depth at both clubs. It’s worth noting that both Rocky Clark and Tamara Taylor starting at 5 for Saracens turned 40 in 2021. This is Sale’s second season in the Premier 15’s, they won 4 from 18 in their first season and 1 from 5 so far this season. Saracens won 15 from 18 in 202 and are 5 from 5 this season.
This is going to be more about the photos than a match report, so a quick round up. Sale Sharks struggled with their set pieces in the first half, particularly their line outs, it was a lost line out that saw Vicky Fleetwood run in for Saracens first try. Sale struggled to get into the Saracens half let alone their 22. Saracens 2nd try was scored by Hannah Casey as they found themselves with room to spare. In spite of a dominant first half those were the only scores in the first half. The Sale Sharks defenders did however hold up the forwards twice, both were valiant defensive efforts.
Sale had a spell in Saracens 22 in the second half, but the home team showed their defensive experience and kept them out. They won a penalty which put them into the Sale half and captain Cara Wardle broke through the Sale defence to score Saracens third try. One of the afore mentioned 40 year olds Rocky Clark was next on the score sheet, that was the fourth and bonus point try. Amazingly Sale held up another two attempts at a try through the forwards. This was one of the frustrating aspects of this Saracens performance for me, a lack of vision in attack when the forwards were lining up outside waiting for the ball. The official report labelled that as excellence in attacking the Sale try line; I saw that very differently, that for me would have been seeing the ball spun out to the backs to score. (sorry Saracens Women, a bit churlish I know). Hannah Casey did finish things off in some style however, with her second and Saracens fifth of the game. The final score was Saracens 31 Sale Sharks 0
This was a battle Royale, I’m not sure I’ve seen such a bad tempered women’s match before; had there been a TMO we may well have seen a card apiece and very possibly a red card in each instance. The first involved a Saracens player shoving a Sale player in the back and the second on the verge of the final whistle for a no arm tackle by a Sale player. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone’s cited.