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Report | Tigers suffer bruising loss to relentless Trailfinders

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A tough visit to London sees Leicester Tigers come up short against Trailfinders Women. The visitors had come back into the game after a tough opening 15 minutes but a difficult second half and subsequent yellow card meant the hosts ran away with it in the end.

It’s a chilly day down south as the game gets underway and the hosts get on top early, dominating possession but for the occasional flicker from Leicester.

A superb steal from Zoe Warrington at the breakdown allows Tigers to clear their lines through Sarah Nicholas after just a handful of minutes. A couple of minutes later, a similar steal after a vital cover tackle by Becky Noon, allows Amy Relf to thunder a box kick up field and briefly alleviate the danger.

However, having enjoyed the lions share of possession, the pressure was eventually going to tell and around the seven-minute mark the hosts get the opening score. Having ceded a penalty just outside their own 22, the ball is promptly kicked to touch and the rolling maul gets set to rumble. Trailfinders set and drive over through hooker Lindelwa Gwala for the game’s opening score.

Moments later, there’s a strong double tackle in midfield by Charlotte Fray and Roisin McBrien but the hosts again find space out wide. Full back Amanda Swartz pulls off a great cover tackle before a subsequent drive is held up.

At the second time of asking though, the hosts get their second, Shya Pinnock hitting a hard line from an offload out wide to cut back in and barrel over.

Tigers first opportunity comes around the 15-minute mark, straight from a set piece. The scrum is rock solid and Swartz hits a big fend to step into space and nearly forge a chance wide, the pass just going awry.

Now Leicester begin to gather momentum, the side’s attacking gameplan visible with successive carries from Zoë Evans, Fray and Morgan Richardson as the Tigers offloading game is in full flow and they advance to the hosts line. They win a penalty just metres out, which is taken short, Ofure Ugiagbe carrying hard.

Tigers in their groove now and they get their first try of the game here. Churchy Knight leads the way with a show and go resulting in a big carry to fly over the gainline before the ball is whipped wide by Relf, Swartz executing the final pass to put Evans into space, the wing having the pace to accelerate into the corner.

With the wind up them, Tigers come again; Charlotte Daley chases down a kick in a dangerous area and halts Trailfinders momentum. They look to play quickly but a pop up to a support runner gives Katie Childs a chance to for a thunderous shot that ends momentum before it can begin.

The two sides trade possession back and forth, two strong defences stifling the hard lines that are flying in from all over the park whilst the speed of the defensive line ensures both sides are frequently exiting via the boot.  

In what commentators would call ‘a real chess match between the two sides’, the final fifteen minutes of the half see both sides struggling to breach the centre of the field.

Half time score: Trailfinders Women 14 – 5 Leicester Tigers

As the second half begins, however, the momentum garnered from the second half of the first period is lost. The hosts are relentless.

Firstly, Team GB 7s star Abi Burton hits an inside line off 10 and flies through a gap to score.

Tigers then enjoy their best spell of the second half, setting a rampaging rolling maul that rumbles all the way from the halfway line to the opposition 22.

The ball is stolen just before they can get to the line but Roisin McBrien is up rapidly to steal it back, intercepting a pass. Tigers look to play quickly and exploit the space but Nicholas’ grubber through finds Rosie Inman.

With massively broken field ahead after several turnovers in succession, the fullback breaks from deep in her own half and scores.

The third try of the second 40 sees a massive shot from McBrien from the kick off; however, a minute later, space is exploited wide before a teasing kick through from Ellie Green is collected by Liz Musgrove to score in the corner.

Trailfinders now have the wind behind them and Tigers misery is compounded as McBrien is shown a yellow card. The flanker attempted the same big shot from kick off but was, on this occasion, a moment too soon and the referee shows her to the sin bin.

The pressure continues relentlessly. Tigers show admirable effort with just 14 women on the field but eventually, just shy of the 10 minute sin bin, Trailfinders score another through scrum half Emma Swords. The hosts were building incrementally toward the line and the 9 spots a gap and stretches to dive over and touch down.

To finish, 7s star Burton then completes her hat trick, touching down in near-identical fashion, hard lines in midfield exploiting tired legs and gaps in the defensive line.

A bruising day at the office for Leicester Tigers, the side now have three weeks to lick their wounds and prepare for a return to Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby action on Saturday, May 11.

Final score: Trailfinders Women 54 – 5 Leicester Tigers

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

EAL 14-5 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

EAL 54-5 LEI

Attendance

Not available

Referee

Not available

Ealing Trailfinders Women
Ealing Trailfinders Women
54

Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
5
Ealing Trailfinders Women
T
T
C
T
T
T
T
T
T
T
KOHTFT
Leicester Tigers
T

Commentary

FULL TIME

The referee blows for full time in London, a tough defeat for Leicester Tigers.

Final score: Trailfinders Women 54 - 5 Leicester Tigers

TRY | TRAILFINDERS

Abi Burton gets her hat-trick with another thundering line from deep, following a scrum.

TRY | TRAILFINDERS

Abi Burton scores after a break in midfield.

TRY | TRAILFINDERS

Substitute scrum half Emma Swords cannily snipes at the breakdown to touch down after sustained pressure.
Conversion successful

TRY | TRAILFINDERS

With space out wide, Ellie Green hits a grubber through of her own, wing Liz Musgrove winning the foot race to dive on the ball and score.

TRY | TRAILFINDERS

Tigers had advanced right into the hosts 22 as Sarah Nicholas looked to put through a delicate grubber through.

However, the ball was fielded well by Trailfinders who broke from deep through fullback Rosie Inman and made it all the way to the line to touch down.

TRY | TRAILFINDERS

Tigers had advanced right into the hosts 22 as Sarah Nicholas looked to put through a delicate grubber through.

However, the ball was fielded well by Trailfinders who broke from deep through fullback Rosie Inman and made it all the way to the line to touch down.

TRY | TRAILFINDERS

Team GB 7s star Abi Burton hits a darting line inside and collects a short pop to go through a gap, fend and dive over.

THE SECOND HALF IS UNDERWAY

Big second half ahead for Leicester Tigers as Natasha Jones gets us underway.

HALF TIME HERE

A tense final fifteen minutes of the half sees exemplary defence from both sides as neither can quite break the other down.

With the clock in the red, Tigers secure a scrum and captain Tash Jones kicks to touch to bring the first half to a close.

TRY | Zoë Evans

The wing sprints over for Tigers' opening score!

Big carries in midfield, lead by prop Churchy Knight, allow space out wide which is capitalised on rapidly, Amy Relf whipping the ball out to Amanda Swartz who executes the two-on-one with Evans perfectly.

conversion | trailfinders

Ellie Green makes it 2/2 from the tee.

TRY | TRAILFINDERS

Lock Shya Pinnock barrels over from short range after a pop inside by wing Liz Musgrove.

TRY | TRAILFINDERS

The hosts get the opening score of the game.

The pressure has been building in Tigers half and when a penalty is kicked to touch just five metres out the rolling maul is on, hooker Lindelwa Gwala touching down.

KICK OFF

We're underway in Ealing as Trailfinders kick us off in Allianz Cup action!

-15

FIFTEEN MINUTES TO GO!

There's just a quarter of an hour till Allianz Cup action gets underway here in London.

Leicester Tigers have travelled down to hosts Trailfinders Women today and we'll have all the live updates coming your way very soon.


Team News | Tigers team to travel to London

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Leicester Tigers have named the matchday squad to face Trailfinders Women in the second of two 7th place play-off matches in the Allianz Cup.

Natasha Jones captains the side for the trip to London, while two players will celebrate major milestones with Stef Evans making her club debut, after it was confirmed that the former Warriors Women had signed with the club, while Zoe Warrington makes her 20th Leicester Tigers appearance to become just the tenth player in club history to reach the figure.

Tanya Bird, if used off the bench, will join Warrington in reaching the 20-game milestone.

The starting side sees just two changes to the pack from last week's outing, with Churchy Knight, who last week reached the 30-game milestone for Tigers, joining the front-row while the aforementioned Warrington slots in alongside Charlotte Fray at lock.

Meanwhile, in the backs, there's just one change as Charlotte Daley makes her return on the wing, the flyer having scored twice in the Allianz Cup already this season.

Amongst the replacements, Evans gets set for her Tigers debut, Maddie Massey and Georgie Grimes return to the bench and Louisa Burgham gets set for her first Tigers appearance of the 2023/24 season.

STARTING XV

15 Amanda Swartz [11]
14 Charlotte Daley [9]
13 Katie Childs [25]
12 Sarah Nicholas [10]
11 Zoë Evans [22]
10 Natasha Jones (c) [33]
9 Amy Relf [32]
1 Churchy Knight [30]
2 Alana Bainbridge [13]
3 Ofure Ugiagbe [28]
4 Zoe Warrington [19]
5 Charlotte Fray [17]
6 Morgan Richardson [33]
7 Roisin McBrien [30]
8 Becky Noon [32]

REPLACEMENTS

16 Tanya Bird [19]
17 Stef Evans *
18 Jade Jones [18]
19 Maddie Massey [2]
20 Georgie Grimes [5]
21 Jemima Moss [1]
22 Molly Draycott [18]
23 Louisa Burgham [13]

* Leicester Tigers debut

Form Guide
Form
WWLLL
Last Match
Lost to Loughborough Lightning 18-19
Past Meeting
Won 54-5
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
LLLLL
Last Match
Lost to Sale Sharks Women 21-36
Past Meeting
Lost 5-54

Matchday Live

Ealing Trailfinders Women54
Ealing Trailfinders Women
Leicester Tigers5
Leicester Tigers
Full Time