Garcia backs Chiefs to hit back

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Spanish scrum-half Patricia Garcia looks to launch another attack for the Exeter Chiefs Women in their clash with Saracens Women on Sunday. Picture: JMP Sport

By Harry Scott-Munro

Exeter Chiefs Women’s scrum-half Patricia Garcia challenged her side to “come back stronger” in the wake of their 32-19 Allianz Premier 15s defeat to Saracens at the StoneX Stadium on Sunday.

The Chiefs scored three tries through Brooke Bradley, Ebony Jefferies and Flo Robinson, with Gabby Cantorna adding two conversions, but it wasn’t enough to turn over a well-drilled Saracens outfit.

The hosts secured a bonus-point win with a double from Poppy Cleall, alongside further scores from Hannah Botterman and Chantelle Miell, with Zoe Harrison landing 12 points with the boot.

Speaking at full-time, Garcia found positives in the performance of her side, but acknowledged that their consistency let them down.

“I think there were moments where we had the momentum and a good rhythm but it wasn’t consistent enough,” said the Spaniard. “Against one of the best teams in the league, we have to be more consistent.

“They took their opportunities really well, but we need to learn from our mistakes and opportunities and come back stronger. If you get better from a mistake and you learn, that helps you become even stronger.”

The Allianz Premier 15s now takes a six-week break with autumn internationals and Premiership Cup fixtures now taking precedence. Garcia sees this period as a perfect opportunity to “keep the Chiefs spirit up” with more players now provided an opportunity to potentially show what they can do in an Exeter jersey.

“Now we need to keep training,” she added. “It’s six weeks until the next Premiership game and there’s some international fixtures for a few of the squad. That will give us an opportunity for the young girls and those who aren’t involved internationally in these cup games to keep working and keep that Chiefs spirit up.”

With Garcia and compatriot Laura Delgado having returned from international duty with Spain, both players have played a part off the bench against both Wasps and Saracens in recent weeks. Garcia explained how her focus now was on “earning a spot back” in the match-day squad, admitting though that from her perspective, it is always “about what is best for the team.”

“Bimba and I are very happy to be back. It was a huge challenge with the international team and we’re really sad we didn’t achieve world cup qualification,” admitted Garcia.

“Now, we’re getting back into the Chiefs rhythm. The girls have been playing really well and we need to work hard to earn our spots in the team again. At the moment, we are doing that off the bench, but it’s all about what is best for the team. Hopefully, after this gap, we can come back with a renewed energy.”

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