This top of the table clash provided end to end entertainment in front of a big crowd at Allianz Park. Richmond started strongest with some slick handling, allowing Jo Watmore to break the line however some solid tackling from Saracens fullback, Lauren Cattell denied her short of the line. The visitors continued to press in the early exchanges but Saracens defence held out. The deadlock was broken on 15 minutes with Tash Brennan spotting the gap and darting under to open the scoring. Alice Richardson added the extras to take the score to 0-7.
The home side settled into the game after the first quarter and began to test Richmond on the attack. Captain, Maggie Alphonsi causing chaos at the breakdown, stealing the ball to make a break only to be stopped 5 metres short of the line. Poppy Cleall and Vicky Fleetwood also made some good yards only to be halted by a solid Richmond defence. With the pressure building, Saracens drove from a lineout over the line but the score didn’t stand as it was held up. Minutes later, Saracens patiently played the phases, keeping it tight before spotting the overlap, Cattell floating a beautifully time pass for winger Sally Tuson to score on her return from injury. Zira Handley couldn’t add the extras, 5-7. Saracens had the opportunity to sneak the lead going into the break after Tuson kicked through, winning the footrace but the ball edged over the deadball line before she could get a touch.
With the game hanging in the balance, it was all to play for in the second half. Both teams showed some quality interplay but cancelled each other out in both attack and defence. As the penalty count crept up, Saracens were penalised for bring down the maul and Cleall was shown a yellow card. Richmond opted for the points with Richardson coolly slotting the kick to take it to 5-10. Richmond tried to capitalise on the player advantage however Saracens defence held out during the binning. It was a tense final 20 minutes and the home side threw everything at Richmond to get back into the game, however the visitors defended hard forcing several uncharacteristic handling errors from Saracens allowing them to clear their lines. Becky Essex was carded for a breakdown infringement and Saracens went for the posts to reduce the deficit however Handley pulled it wide. The home side were unable to breach the Richmond defence and the final whistle blew for a Richmond victory, 5-10, Saracens first ever defeat at Allianz since moving last season.