REPORT | Saracens Women 5-19 Worcester Valkyries

By Tom Branston

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A resurgent Worcester Valkyries produced a dominant display to beat Saracens Women 19-5 at Allianz Park on Sunday.

Tries from Bianca Blackburn and Zoe Bennion accompanied by a penalty try secured a much-needed victory for Valkyries.

Although Geri Thomas added a consolation try late in the game for Saracens, nothing stopped Worcester as they claimed their second win of the season.

Valkyries gave debuts to three players during the game with Welsh internationals Dyddgu Hywel and Shona Powell-Hughes starting and England international and Team GB star Heather Fisher with her second debut for the Club, making an impact from the bench.

Valkyries came close in the early stages when Powell-Hughes crashed her way through the defensive line on the 22 but nothing came of the early chance.

However, just minutes later, Valkyries scored a brilliant team try to open the scoring.

Hywel passed to Bennion before the ball found its way to Blackburn for the scrum-half to dive over the whitewash.

Valkyries came close to a second try of the game when the driving maul pushed its way towards the line but the visitors conceded possession.

With Rosie Haigh and Lyndsay O’Donnell winning several lineouts, and the pack playing their part at scrum-time, Valkyries were making life very difficult for the hosts.

Powell-Hughes impressed during a tough first-half with several hard-hitting runs and brutal hand-offs to get past her opponents in the early stages.

Worcester found themselves 5-0 up at the break which could have been more if they had converted territory into points.

Valkyries were quick out the blocks in the second period and were awarded a penalty try as Saracens were deemed to have committed several infringements at the scrum. Megan Goddard added the extras to extend the lead to 12.

Saracens had no reply as Worcester added a quick third to all but seal the points with Bennion finally going over after a successful driving lineout and Goddard once again added the extras.

Fisher showed her class when coming off the bench to strengthen Valkyries’ defensive line in the latter stages of the game.

Legs grew tired late on but Worcester still looked hungry for more and almost got another score when Ceri Large and Blackburn combined.

Saracens held out after a bombardment of Valkyries attacks and managed to score what was only a consolation when Thomas dived over for the Londoners.

Valkyries looked for a bonus-point, fourth try but were forced to settle for the four points as they came away with a convincing 19-5 win.

Debutant Hywel showed her strength and speed throughout and will give Director of Rugby Donna Kennedy a headache with selection ahead of next weekend as she produced a woman-of-the-match performance.

Valkyries face Darlington Mowden Park Sharks at Sixways on Sunday 16 October (kick-off 2pm).

Timeline
09m | Blackburn try 0-5
44m | Penalty try 0-10
44m | Goddard con 0-12
53m | Bennion try 0-17
53m | Goddard con 0-19
73m | Thomas try 5-19

Valkyries | 15 Dyddgu Hywel, 14 Rhi Parker (Mavroudis 64), 13 Zoe Bennion, 12 Megan Goddard, 11 Sam Bree (c) (S Parker 64), 10 Ceri Large, 9 Bianca Blackburn, 8 Shona Powell-Hughes, 7 Sian Williams, 6 Lyndsay O’Donnell (Fisher 40), 5 Rosie Haigh (Hiscox 63), 4 Courtney Gill, 3 Tracy Balmer, 2 Lark Davies (Keates 49 {Bunce 64}), 1 Rochelle Clark

Replacements | 16 Helena Bunce, 17 Laura Keates, 18 Stacey Hiscox, 19 Lisa Campbell, 20 Heather Fisher, 21 Sam Parker, 22 Alexia Mavroudis

 

 

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