Match report: Saracens Women 39 - 26 Exeter Chiefs Women


Caroline Moore at the StoneX Stadium

The StoneX Stadium is not a happy hunting ground for Chiefs Women but they sure put up a fight today. They scored four tries to take away a bonus point but ultimately Saracens Women proved their worth at the top of the table to score seven tries and take a 39-26 win.

It was a first quarter to forget for Chiefs as Saracens racked up two tries in the opening exchanges at the StoneX Stadium.

Chiefs had their own chance early on when a quick-tap penalty saw plenty of bodies over the line but no try. Saracens were quick to respond with scrum-half Ella Wyrwas capitalising on a loose Chiefs ball. With the conversion successfully taken by flanker Sophie De Goede, the score was 7-0 after 10 minutes gone.

Chiefs had a chance at lineout time just a few minutes later but they just could not get their maul going. When Saracens did get their hands back on the ball, they made the most of their possession on home turf resulting in a second try for hooker May Campbell.

The visitors held their heads up and some determined running from winger Katie Buchanan was the catalyst for constant pressure from backs and forwards to see prop Hope Rogers over the line for Chiefs first points on the board.

Assistant coach Steve Salvin predicted physicality would be needed for this game and he was not wrong. A double tackle from Rachel Johnson and Rogers was a good example of this practice as was their dominance in the scrum.

A scrum penalty to Chiefs saw Alex Tessier kick to touch for a lineout that was collected by Johnson to set up the maul. Running support came in the form of Cantorna, Maddie Feaunati, Merryn Doidge, Rogers and then back to Johnson, who almost got over but gave possession to Cliodhna Moloney. A second conversion from Cantorna saw Chiefs take the lead at 12-14.

Alas, the lead did not last long as De Goede executed an impressive run down the wing to score a try and make it 17-14 at half-time.

Cliodhna Moloney over for Chiefs' second try

The second half really could not have opened any better! Buchanan causally collected a kick from Saracens and just put her head down. A neat pass to Claudia MacDonald saw the England winger do the rest. Cantorna kicked the conversion to reclaim the lead at 17-21.

But such was the topsy-turvy nature of this game, it was not long before Sarries had clawed that lead back with some pressure in Chiefs 22. Winger Paige Farries snuck down the wing to take a one-point lead and a four-try bonus point.

A series of penalties in Chiefs territory gave Saracens the possession they needed and they punished the visitors with a try from full-back Jess Breach.

Sarries ramped up the pressure in the last quarter and it looked like

Lotte Clapp was over after an impressive darting run. Chiefs survived a rolling maul too, but Moloney was shown a yellow card for her defensive efforts.

More penalties to the home side, more lineouts and more mauls…and this time they were successful with Marlie Packer taking the spoils.

Chiefs were battling hard with 14 players but an interception from Leanne Infante saw her race down the field for Saracens try to take their tally to 39.

The visitors fought to the end, however, understanding the importance of a bonus point. This time it was Saracens who were leaky with the penalties and Chiefs kept pressing to get centre Kanako Kobayashi over in added time.

Saracens Women: Saracens Women: J Breach: P Farries, S Gregson, S Bridger, L Clapp (cc) (C Grant 72mins); A MacDougall (B Blacklock 70mins), E Wyrwas (L Infante 66mins); M Hunt (A Gondwe 75mins), M Campbell (B Field 72mins), D Rose (K Clifford 58mins), G Evans (E Taylor 63mins), R Galligan, S De Goede, M Packer (cc), P Cleall (G Moore 75mins)

Tries: Wyrwas, Campbell, De Goede, Farries, Clapp, Packer, Infante

Cons: De Goede (2)

Exeter Chiefs Women: Exeter Chiefs Women: M Doidge (vc); C MacDonald, K Kobayashio, G Cantorna, K Buchanan (E Tuttosi 66-76mins); A Tessier, B Bradley (O Ortiz 79mins), H Rogers (A Middlebrooke 80mins), C Moloney (E Tuttosi 76mins), D Menin (L Hanlon 67mins), N Fryday (H Millar-Mills 60mins), P Leith (c), M Feaunati (E Jefferies 60mins), E McMahon (M Allen 60mins), R Johnson

Rep not used: D Preece

Tries: Rogers, Moloney, MacDonald, Kobayashi

Yellow card: Moloney (65mins)

Cons: Cantorna (3)

Referee: Richard Gordon

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