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Report | Battling performance from Tigers sees them fall short

Figure image

A tough first half saw Tigers with a lot to do in the second period but a battling display saw the side score three tries after the break in a competitive, physical Allianz Cup fixture with Harlequins.

Natasha Jones kicks us off into the cool, cloudy Leicestershire midday sky. It’s the hosts that hoard the early possession but a high-intensity Tigers press keeps them penned back into their own half, even in their own 22, for the vast majority of the first 10 minutes. This stretch of time sees Tigers with a range of opportunities but unable to convert them into points.

Amanda Swartz does well early doors, fielding a couple of difficult clearance kicks well, offloading to Jones from the first and dodging two tackles to eat up 10 metres on the second.

After a succession of tight carries, Tigers win a penalty with Amy Relf takes quickly, sprinting to the gainline before offloading to a rampaging Charlotte Fray who gets through two tackles before Ofure then a sizzling miss-pass from Swartz give Zoë Evans her first chance to run

Debutant Jemima Moss gets her first touch of the ball in a Tigers shirt and smashes through her opposite number and over the gainline to give Relf great go-forward ball as Tigers keep the pressure high.

Swartz has been everywhere thus far and the full back soars through the sky to get a touch backwards on a high bomb kick before carrying up moments later. A couple of minutes later, Becky Noon picks up and goes from the base, offloading to Relf who almost gets that final pass away to Molly Draycott but the ball just bobbles into touch.

This, in retrospect, is the turning point in the match. From this small error, Quins sieze possession and momentum and do not let go until they’ve established a significant lead.

The first two tries are mirror image scores of one another, the only key difference being the scorers; for both scores, swift hands get the ball out to the left-hand side of the pitch and with Tigers scrambling back, the ball goes back inside to the onrushing support; first it’s fullback Jade Mullen, then wing Amy Layzell securing tries.

For their third five minutes later, the back-three complete their hat-trick as wing Izzy Mayhew receives the ball right on the opposite touchline and has the gas to dive over in the corner.  

Tigers have spots of positivity in here, Molly Draycott does well to carry up at pace before Charlotte Fray breaks the line to earn the side 15 metres, but these moments are few and far between as ‘Quins dominate the ball.

Ella Cromack has been exceptional at clearing the lines for Harlequins and just nullifying any sense of consistency for Leicester, meaning any turnover inside their half is instantly transferred straight back to Tigers territory.

The visitors get their fourth score after initially looking to score wide before strong defence forces them inside, wherein successive strong carries allows flanker Emily Robinson to further their lead.

Keia Mae Sagapolu Sanele and Tahlia Brody have both entered the field in the first half and both show their class moments later, breaking the stubborn Harlequins defensive line with successive brutal carries but once again the ball is lost.

A critical steal at the breakdown from Fray stifles a last-minute attack from the visitors and a tough first half comes to an end.

Half time score: Leicester Tigers 0 – 26 Harlequins

Quins look to begin where they left off and press home their advantage by responding to Tigers’ initial clearance but Swartz does well to hare back to cover, make the tackle and force the ball to be spilled into touch.

Tigers make their way width-ways across the pitch, before earning a scrum penalty on their own 22 which they take full advantage of, breaking up field and making camp in Quins’ half.

Amy Relf and Tess Feury are now on either wing and Relf makes great metres on the left before a speculative kick across finds Feury who almost gets over the line, an offload intercepted but spilled into touch by the Londoners.

This opportune line-out right on the ‘Quins five metres sadly goes awry but Roisin McBrien (on her 30th appearance for the club) does well to get in the way of an attempted clearance to win the ball back and keep the pressure on.

The next five metres see Tigers throwing the kitchen sink at their opposition but just unable to breach. Feury has seen lots of the ball thus far and is always looking to make something happen. The side try all manner of kicks, runners, slick moves and plays from set pieces but for 20 minutes they just can’t get over the line.

However, Tigers are nothing if not tough and they come again here. Tahlia Brody gets over to strip the ball and allows Fray to break to halfway with ‘Quins all out attacking; with broken field ahead of her, substitute Claire Gallagher sees the opportunity.

In what is already becoming a signature move, the chip and chase is delightfully executed, the Canadian international thumping up to five metres out and collecting the ball to dive over.

With Harlequins coming from the nation’s capital they’ll be well aware of the old adage around London buses and it comes true here as Tigers get their second almost immediately afterward.  

Another Canadian on from the replacements, Julia Omokhuale flies up to steal a lineout and Tigers capitalise. The ball is whipped wide before a ranging pass from Churchy Knight (also celebrating her 30th Tigers appearance) gets out to Tess Feury in space. The eagle has lots to do around 30 metres out but hits a swerving run to streak past the defending wing and ride the covering tackle from the fullback to touch down.

With rumblings of a comeback murmured around the ground, ‘Quins quash that almost instantly, with a powerful run from substitute Aseza Hele allowing the Springbok to break through a couple of tackles around 10 metres out and go over to effectively put the game to bed.

With just over 10 minutes remaining, Tigers keep fighting and get their final score of the match, in classic fashion: a rolling maul.

It’s Tahlia Brody, who has been immensely physical since entering the field, who’s at the base of the set-piece which rumbles over with aplomb to give Leicester shoots of positives to take from a tough encounter.

In fact, with the time almost up, Feury almost gets another after Brody picks and goes  from a midfield scrum, hands the ball out the back to Lucy Nye who fizzes a flat pass to Feury in loads of space, her chip and chase just bobbling dead by the finest of margins as the two USA internationals sprinted to touch down.

But it wasn’t to be. Tigers can feel proud of the heart they showed today but to the victor go the spoils and congratulations must go to a Harlequins team that brought immense physicality and guile throughout.

Full time score: Leicester Tigers 19 – 33 Harlequins

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 0-26 HAR

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 19-33 HAR

Attendance

Not available

Referee

Not available

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
19

Full Time

Harlequins Women
Harlequins Women
33
Leicester Tigers
T
C
T
T
KOHTFT
Harlequins Women
T
C
T
T
T
T

Commentary

FULL TIME AT MATTIOLI WOODS WELFORD ROAD

The final whistle is blown at Mattioli Woods Welford Road; Tigers battled back in the second half but that first half defecit was just too great to overcome.

Full time score: Leicester Tigers 19 - 33 Harlequins Women

TRY | TAHLIA BRODY

A classic Tigers score here as the side drive over from a rolling maul, Brody at the tail to touch down.

Conversion successful.

TRY | HARLEQUINS

Substitute Aseza Hele crashes through a couple of tackles to go over after 'Quins had kept possession tight with several crashing lines.

Conversion successful

TRY | Tess Feury

From a Canadian score to an American one!

It all starts with Julia Omokhuale stealing the ball at the lineout; from there, Tigers play the ball wide and advance out of their own half, with Churchy Knight finding Tess Feury.

The Eagle has lots to do but a swerving run bamboozles the opposition wing and allows Feury to burst inside and ride the tackle to touch down.

CONVERSION | TESS FEURY

The USA international smashes a tough conversion over from the left hand side, ten metres in from the touchline.

TRY | CLAIRE GALLAGHER

In what is already becoming a signature score, Claire Gallagher grabs a try with a dynamite chip and chase.

With 'Quins scrambling in defence, Gallagher spots space over the top of the line and chips it through, dodging the opposition fullback who can't quite get there before chipping the ball up for herself to dive over.

HALF TIME AT MATTIOLI WOODS WELFORD ROAD

The visitors are on top despite chances for both sides in a frentic first half, Harlequins just that bit more clinical.

Half time score: Leicester Tigers 0 - 26 Harlequins

TRY | HARLEQUINS

Flanker Emily Robinson drives over from short range after a couple of carries tight to the Tigers line.

Conversion successful.

TRY | HARLEQUINS

This time on the opposite side of the field, slick hands sees Quins find a modicum of space on the right touchline and Izzy Mayhew dances through to score.

TRY | HARLEQUINS

Deja vu all over again as Quins once again find space out right from just inside halfway and cut through the line, Amy Layzell scoring from range.

CONVERSION | HARLEQUINS

Ella Cromack adds the extras and extends the visitors lead.

TRY | HARLEQUINS WOMEN

It's been all Tigers thus far but on the visitors first venture into the opposition half they score.

Initially finding space wide on the right, Tigers scramble to cover before the ball is played back inside and fullback Jade Mullen gets the game's opening try.

KICK-OFF

We are underway at Mattioli Woods Welford Road!

-5

FIVE MINUTES TO GO

There's just five minutes to go till kick off so get set for Allianz Cup rugby!

-30

30 minutes to go!

There's just half an hour till we get underway in our Allianz Cup clash with Harlequins!

Head on down to Mattioli Woods Welford Road or join us here on Matchday Live or on X (Twitter) for all the updates!


Team News | Tigers ready for return to action at home

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The Leicester Tigers matchday squad to face Harlequins Women in the first of two 7th place play-off matches in the Allianz Cup has been named.

Natasha Jones captains the side for the return to Mattioli Woods Welford Road, while two players will celebrate major milestones with Jemima Moss making her club debut, after it was confirmed that the former England Under-20s lock had signed with the club, while Roisin McBrien makes her 30th Leicester Tigers appearance to become just the fifth player in club history to reach the figure.

Churchy Knight, if used off the bench, will join McBrien in reaching the 30-game milestone. 

The starting side sees several changes from the side's last outing, six weeks ago, including Jade Jones and Alana Bainbridge up front, Moss and Becky Noon re-united with McBrien and Morgan Richardson in the back row. 

Meanwhile, in the backs, Amy Relf returns to partner Jones as the starting half-backs, while there's a first-time partnership in the midfield of Katie Childs and Sarah Nicholas and Zoë Evans and Molly Draycott are included as the starting wings for the first time this season.

Amongst the replacements, Keia Mae Sagapolu Sanele is in line for a return after being sidelined through injury.

Mae plus fellow American internationals Tahlia Brody and Tess Feury and Canadian duo Julia Omokhuale and Claire Gallagher are included on the bench before facing off in a fortnight when USA play Canada on Sunday, April 28 in California. 

STARTING XV
15 Amanda Swartz [10]
14 Molly Draycott [17]
13 Sarah Nicholas [9]
12 Katie Childs [24]
11 Zoë Evans [21]
10 Natasha Jones (c) [32]
9 Amy Relf [31]
1 Jade Jones [17]
2 Alana Bainbridge [12]
3 Ofure Ugiagbe [27]
4 Charlotte Fray [16]
5 Jemima Moss *
6 Morgan Richardson [32]
7 Roisin McBrien [29]
8 Becky Noon [31]

REPLACEMENTS
16 Tanya Bird [18]
17 Churchy Knight [29]
18 Keia Mae Sagapolu Sanele [10]
19 Julia Omokhuale [5]
20 Tahlia Brody [11]
21 Lucy Nye [20]
22 Claire Gallagher [6]
23 Tess Feury [11]

* Leicester Tigers debut


Please note: This match is not included in 2023/24 Women's Season Tickets but Season Ticket Holder's can access tickets at a discounted rate, while Under-18s are FREE with a paying adult. Full details for ticketing are below.

Ticket Details (v Harlequins, Saturday, April 13)  

Season Ticket Holders:

  • £5 for Adults (ages 18+); your ticket can be then be exchanged for a £5 gift voucher in the Club Shop
  • Under 18s FREE with a full paying adult

Non-Season Ticket Holders:

  • £10 for Adults (ages 18+)
  • Under 18s FREE with full paying adult
Form Guide
Form
L----
Last Match
Lost to Harlequins Women 19-33
Past Meeting
Lost 19-33
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
LWWLL
Last Match
Lost to Bristol Bears Women 25-47
Past Meeting
Won 33-19

Matchday Live

Leicester Tigers19
Leicester Tigers
Harlequins Women33
Harlequins Women
Full Time