"Sarries Win Silverware" - Saracens Women's Story of Success in 2024 Allianz Cup - Ruck

“Sarries Win Silverware” – Saracens Women’s Story of Success in 2024 Allianz Cup

Saracens Women have added the latest trophy to their expansive cabinet, as they lifted the 2023/24 Allianz Cup this past weekend. The domestic equivalent to the men’s Premiership Rugby Cup, Sarries got their hands on the silverware following an impressive 31-17 final win over Bristol Bears.

The Allianz Cup is a unique competition within women’s rugby, as the majority of the competition takes place during the international window. The pool stage matches were held through September and October, with the latter fixtures overlapping with the start of the WXV competition. The recently played knockout rounds took place throughout April, with the international stars firmly occupied by the 2024 Women’s Six Nations.

Like the men’s Premiership Rugby Cup, the women’s Allianz Cup is a perfect proving ground for the players who may be on the fringes of their PWR clubs. Whilst the international talents are away on country call-ups, the remaining players can put their hands up to impress their coaches, with Saracens proving their impressive squad depth with the title triumph.

The Allianz Cup sees the PWR clubs divided into two pools. Initially, this was two equal pools of five teams, but the mid-season withdrawal of Worcester Warriors Women caused Pool A to drop to a quartet of teams. Saracens were drawn into Pool B, and had a delayed start to their campaign after an opening round set-back at the hands of their noisy technicolored neighbours.

Harlequins Women travelled up from West to North London, and stunned the hosts with a 36-29 triumph at the StoneX. Such a backwards step was short-lived by Saracens, who would go on to win the following three cup matches on the bounce, and take the top spot of the group come the end of the preliminary rounds. Sarries handed defeats to Loughboriugh Lightning (33-25), Trailfinders Women (45-10) and reigning PWR champions Gloucester-Hartpury (38-31), to put them in pole position for the next round.

Having sailed to the summit of Pool B, Saracens were blessed with a week off, whilst the other best placed sides battled tooth and nail for further progression in the competition. Saracens re-kindled their old rivalry with Exeter Chiefs Women in the semi-finals, and achieved their revenge for last season’s league play-off elimination. Sarries handed the Chiefs a 36-29 defeat, with Bryony Cleall contributing two tries, following the prop’s recent omission from the Red Roses Six Nations squad.

Then followed the Allianz Cup Final this past weekend, with Bristol’s Shaftesbury Park selected as the host venue. Saracens went into this fixture fighting against the home support, as Bristol Bears had battled valiantly to secure their place in the home-turf finale. A try from England Sevens capped Deborah Willis started off the scoring for Bristol, with the flyer achieving an unanswered brace of tries after 32 minutes.

Saracens rallied back with a try just four minutes later, as Akina Gondwe crossed the whitewash to reduce the deficit ahead of the break to just 12-7 in favour of the Bears. Sarries struck first in the second half, and had the playing field levelled up through Lotte Clapp’s try, just three minutes after the restart. Hooker Bryony Field then got her name on the scoresheet, as Saracens got a stronghold in the topsy-turvy cup final.

Bristol’s final roll of the dice came in the form of Ella Lovibond’s try after 57 minutes, as Saracens would go on to assert their authority on proceedings for the match’s final quarter. Two unanswered tries saw Bryony Cleall and May Campbell power over for the Londoners, with Saracens reigning supreme as the 2024 Allianz Cup champions.