Right, let's see if we can beat Saracens again
TAKING on the might of Saracens II away – this is one of the biggest grudge matches of the season and the Cheltenham Tigers are relishing the challenge.
The ladies have secured two convincing wins over Richmond II and Hove, and one nail-biting draw against Bristol II so far this term.
The Tigers are nestled behind their London-based rivals in third spot in the Championship South table, but second row Sian Hobday knows taking down a London club takes some doing.
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Hobday said: "It is a grudge match.
"Last season we travelled with just 15 ladies and thought it was going to be tough, but we won. It was unbelievable. The girls dug in to beat them for the first time away. It was amazing.
"We know what to expect from Saracens and we are ready.
"Scoring that final try against Bristol last week – that was where we showed our true character. If we are going to be one of the top teams in the league we needed to step it up and come back at them."
Coaches Dan Morris and Matt Carter wanted 10 to 12 points from their first three games and are satisfied with three solid performances and 11 points.
However, technical errors against Bristol showed him there are still improvements to be made at the contact area and in minimising handling errors.
While the heart and passion were evident the Tigers lost the contest at the breakdown, which they cannot afford to do against top-three side Saracens.
Morris explained: "Against Bristol, there were a lot of unforced handling errors when we had opportunities to score.
"In this league, if you don't take your chances the other team will keep coming. We created opportunities, we just didn't take them.
"So we have been working on the breakdown, we have stressed the importance of handling basics and the offload and have worked on the contact area.
"You saw players drop the ball and throw their heads in their hands knowing something very simple which should have been a score has been let go. Bristol put us under pressure, and in the face of that you start to panic when the opportunities come along. Subconsciously you're aware how important it is to score because the game is close.
"And then errors creep in. It's like quicksand, once one error happens another happens and before you know it everyone gets sucked in. But the only way you get it right is turning up at training and putting the work in there."
The Tigers boast a 45- player strong squad this term, with the second team playing matches every week too.
The first team are aiming to break into the top three this term among the dominant London clubs like Saracens.
Dynamic fly-half Lisa Mansell is fit again after dislocating her shoulder in the opening match against Richmond to bolster the back-line.
Her recovery is timely. For captain and international Welsh prop Stacy Hardie, Saracens will be one of the toughest games of the season.
The 29-year-old said: "This will be a tough game, but there isn't really an easy game.
"Some of our key players are coming back, we'll have a big squad after being short on backs against Bristol so we are confident.
"Everyone has put in so much work.
" I've been really impressed with how the new players have come in and stepped up."