Sarah McKenna knows that, once you get a taste of winning, you do not give it up without a fight.

The Saracens Women star helped her side to Tyrrells Premier 15s glory last time out, and is raring to repeat the feat when the domestic season returns later this month.

And, as all great teams know, it is one thing to win a title, but another entirely to retain it.

“I’m incredibly excited for a new season, as always. We had a great season last year, so we want to continue that good work,” said McKenna, speaking at the season launch at Tyrrells Court Farm.

“As the title holders, you’re defending that title naturally, but we also want to perform well and hopefully the results will come with that.

“We had a big intent on performance and making sure we’re reaching our potential and playing as well as we can, which I know we didn’t do at points last year.

“There’s no reason why if we do reach our potential then we can’t do very well again.

“Preparations have been going well. Personally, I joined the squad slightly later having come off the summer tour, but well aware off all the hard work going on back home.

“I know that numbers have been huge at training and what they’ve been doing has been pretty awful by the looks and sounds of things!

“Coming back in was tough, because the girls had already been through so much together and all of those hard sessions that I think people really bonded over.

“Hitting the ground with them was pretty tough, because they were taking chunks out of each other all over the place, but it’s been good.”

The north Londoners begin their title defence with a trip to Bristol Bears, looking to hit the ground running after wide-scale change in the off season saw a flurry of players and coaches alike switch allegiances.

And with the league set to be the most competitive yet, McKenna is up for the challenge, acknowledging that it can only be a good thing everyone in the long run.

“It’s been huge,” she continued.

“It’s moved on quicker than people expected themselves, and the girls within the game won’t have envisioned us being here and doing the stuff we’re doing.

“It’s no longer just the men and women’s team; it’s like one club and, speaking personally, I think that’s the biggest difference we’ve seen.

“On the pitch the standard has gone up massively. Week-in-week-out, you’re having to do huge shifts one after another, and I think the depth in the squad comes through at that point.

“We’re taking it to places where it’s never been before. I know, growing up going to watch a Saracens women’s game on a muddy pitch, standing on the side in wellies getting soaked, so it’s a massively different experience going to watch a women’s game now – a far more enjoyable one!”

  • Tyrrells Premier 15s is the top-flight women’s domestic rugby union competition in England. For all the latest news from Tyrrells Premier 15s, you can follow @Premier15s on Twitter