TEAM NEWS | Saracens Women vs Gloucester-Hartpury (Allianz PWR Rd 17)

Second-row Emma Taylor is expecting a physical battle against table-toppers Gloucester-Hartpury on Saturday.

Saracens Women return to StoneX Stadium for the final time in the regular season, knowing that they could potentially seal a home semi-final berth. They'll be coming up against a Gloucester-Hartpury side though who are unbeaten this season and have secured top spot in the league standings for the second straight season.

Taylor is under no illusions about the challenge her side will face on Saturday.

"Everyone is buzzing for this one. It's first versus second in the league and it's going to be a really physical test. There are great players in both teams, so it's going to be a question of who comes out on top and hits harder to get the result."

Saracens can take confidence from last weekend's first-ever victory at Sandy Park though, with Taylor hoping that her side can use it as a springboard for the rest of the season.

"I feel like we shocked a lot of people last weekend. We went into the game really confident and prepared. We were really on it as a collective and as a team and it felt smooth out there. We want to keep that going this weekend."

Director of Rugby Alex Austerberry has made three personnel changes to his starting XV ahead of this one.

In the front-row, Akina Gondwe and May Campbell are joined by Kelsey Clifford, who is restored to the starting line-up.

In the second-row, Taylor is joined by Scotland international Louise McMillan, whilst the back-row remains unchanged, with Georgia Evans, co-captain Marlie Packer and Poppy Cleall all packing down.

Ella Wyrwas and Zoe Harrison continue at half-back, whilst Beth Blacklock and Sydney Gregson will again link up in the centres, after a star showing last weekend.

In the back-three, co-captain Lotte Clapp returns from international duty, alongside Coreen Grant and Jess Breach, who reverts to fullback in the absence of Sarah McKenna, who has been ruled out of this week's game.

Amongst the replacements, there are four new faces from last weekend's trip to the West Country.

Bryony Field and Donna Rose are joined by the returning McKinley Hunt as the front-row cover, whilst Canadian captain Sophie de Goede is set to make her first appearance for the club since February, having been away on international and 7s duty.

Sharifa Kasolo also comes into the side, as does a third Canadian in Paige Farries, with Leanne Infante and Sophie Bridger again posed to make an impact off the bench.

Saturday's match is going to be a seismic one and Taylor believes that it will be a great advert for the women's game, as her side hunt a home semi-final.

"Anyone who has played in this league before knows the quality of it. We know how important it is to have a home semi-final and that's what we're targeting. We want to carry momentum into the semi-finals and we want to be able to play with an edge."

Saracens Women's Team vs Gloucester-Hartpury:

1.⁠ ⁠Akina Gondwe
2.⁠ ⁠⁠May Campbell
3.⁠ ⁠⁠Kesley Clifford
4.⁠ ⁠⁠Louise McMillan
5.⁠ ⁠⁠Emma Taylor
6.⁠ ⁠⁠Georgia Evans
7.⁠ ⁠⁠Marlie Packer (Co-captain)
8.⁠ ⁠⁠Poppy Cleall
9.⁠ ⁠⁠Ella Wyrwas
10.⁠ ⁠⁠Zoe Harrison
11.⁠ ⁠⁠Lotte Clapp (Co-captain)
12.⁠ ⁠⁠Beth Blacklock
13.⁠ ⁠⁠Sydney Gregson
14.⁠ ⁠⁠Coreen Grant
15.⁠ ⁠⁠Jess Breach

16.⁠ ⁠⁠Bryony Field
17.⁠ ⁠⁠Mckinley Hunt
18.⁠ ⁠⁠Donna Rose
19.⁠ ⁠⁠Sophie de Goede
20.⁠ ⁠⁠Sharifa Kasolo
21.⁠ ⁠⁠Leanne Infante
22.⁠ ⁠⁠Sophie Bridger
23.⁠ ⁠⁠Paige Farries