Saracens Women update from Head Coach Alex Austerberry
A lot has happened since we last took the field in a competitive fixture.
The disappointment of a season which saw 24 victories from 24 games ending with no conclusion pales into insignificance with events that have unfolded. I would like to put on record our thanks and gratitude to all the front line workers who in the most challenging of circumstances have been outstanding. We also have immense pride that throughout our squad we have many players who are key workers and along with many others have gone above and beyond in fighting COVID.
The hard work of so many people has enabled us to be in a position to return to competitive rugby very shortly and that is truly exciting. It has been a very long road to get to this point and the efforts of staff, officials and players behind the scenes has allowed us to learn, implement, shape, and inform the practices and behaviours to ensure we can return to rugby but also ensure that we are in the best place possible to perform when we do return.
Preseason has looked very different, but as ever, players and staff have embraced the challenges and if the modified internal game was anything to go by, the socially distant conditioning, skills work, zoom calls and the contact work have put the group in a good position to launch our campaign and look to defend the domestic title.
The group has a lot of familiar faces and that illustrates our commitment to our players and their commitment to the club. Some players have moved on and we wish them the best, and thanks and recognition for their great service to club stalwarts, Rebecca Bushell, Lauren Newman and Ama Mayes who all represented Saracens with distinction for over a decade each.
One of the most exciting things about the new season is the building and preparation that goes in to the start of it. Adapting and evolving practices, learning, trying to shape the game, developing current players to maximise their and the teams potential and also bringing new talent and potential to the club. All of this drives us as a club forward and it is great to see some familiar faces returning to the Saracens family and some new ones that I have no doubt will be welcomed warmly by all of you.
Deborah Fleming, Sydney Gregson and Emma Uren all return to the club from their time in the England 7s programme and the exciting Holly Aitchison has also joined from that programme. Emma Swords returns to the club after a year away. In the pack we have seen the addition of Fi McIntosh and Georgia Evans joins us from Wales all of whom at additional quality and depth to our squad.
This season being a World Cup and Olympic year (hopefully), all clubs will face additional challenges of playing fixtures during international windows. The work we have done and continue to do working on developing young players and giving them playing opportunities plus the addition of some new recruits, I believe will allow us to meet the challenge of the new season head on.
The group is very excited and energised about the return to competitive fixtures and is very much looking forward to the day they can run out and see all of you in the crowd. I am sure they will hear the wall of noise from the changing rooms. We can’t wait for that but we would like to thank you all for your continued support, messages, passion and positivity over this challenging time. We hope to repay this through our performances and efforts going forward.
Stay safe and tune in to what promises to be a fantastic year or rugby.