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Report | Tigers fall to slick attacking of Bears

Figure image

Leicester Tigers fell to a rampant, play-off bound Bristol Bears side. Tigers brought early pressure and plenty of attacking intent but the hosts just had too much at Ashton Gate.

It’s a sizeable atmosphere at Ashton Gate as the players run out amongst a host of flags proclaiming this as ‘Bear Country’. Well, all but one run out as Amy Cokayne, ever the coolest player on the pitch, strolls out into the spring sunshine to make her return to a Tigers jersey.

Tigers receive the ball from kick off and immediately target territory, Sarah Nicholas’ long kick collected well at fullback. Bears truck it up but a dual shot from Scotland props Leah Bartlett and Lisa Cockburn set the tempo before Cokayne smashes her opposite number into touch.

A picture-perfect line out sees Charlotte Fray truck it up in midfield before Tigers clear long again. The hosts look to run it back but a sizeable press forces a forward pass in midfield and we get ready for the game’s opening scrum.

The similarities between the two sides is evident early as both sides fling the ball around with gusto, trading possession as they attempt risky offloads and storming lines.

However, the physical toll this amount of open play takes on a team is draining and the opening score comes from a straightforward pick and go from scrum half Keira Bevan, breaking through from the 22.

Tigers have shown their own hunger for the tryline and they come roaring back into it here, lead by an amazing behind-the-back catch from Fray, as they get up to the 22 and win a penalty, duly kicked to touch and duly mauled over the line, England hooker Amy Cokayne at the tail to dive over for her first Tigers score.

Now the hosts look to strike straight back and a poor clearance kick to touch puts Tigers under pressure but there’s incredible work from Richardson to claim in the air and hooker Cokayne spiral bombs to halfway.

There is incredible work rate here in defence and the visitors actually drive Bears back from halfway to their own 22, the blitzing from Fray, Cokayne, Relf and Roisin McBrien keeping the hosts caged. A pair of penalties conceded allows play to make its way back into Tigers 22 but stellar defence in the tight forces Bears to go wide, where Amy Relf intercepts and breaks up field.

Tigers instantly go for the space and a cross field kick to Francesca McGhie allows the Scot to get us an additional 25 metres up field. Tigers now come into their groove and use their width, McGhie cut just short of a wonder try from halfway after a looping wide pass from Sarah Nicholas.  

But once again the ball is turned over and Tigers cede possession back.

Here, with half an hour gone, we see the floodgates open. The hosts bag two tries in quick succession; first, wing Millie David leaves her wing to wrap around and fly through a gap to score  before a long-range try from Simi Pam sees Bears break from their own 22 before a two on one puts Pam into space on the halfway line, the prop having the gas to dive over.

Tigers roar back into it soon after, the third try this game has seen in five minutes. Incremental, agricultural carries get the side to within five metres where Cokayne gets her second by smashing over.

Tigers look to keep within touching distance as the game ebbs into the final minute, Richardson with a great tackle on a breaking Bear before a stellar tap tackle allows Relf to get straight over and win a brilliant turnover on halfway.

However, Bears claim the ball back and strike at the death, their slick offloading finding space in midfield, a pop up to Row Marston-Mulhearn seeing the No. 8 crash over.

Half time score: Bristol Bears 33 – 12 Leicester Tigers

Natasha Jones kicks off the second period with a deep kick into Bears territory, her defence earning a knock on early.

Elis Martin has entered the field at the break and has already put in a sizeable shot as she packs down at flanker here. The visitors win the scrum penalty and immediately kick to touch, looking to maul over from fifteen metres; after an infringement, Tigers have a second penalty, again kicked to touch and from here they score, the maul stopped just short but captain Jones hitting a lovely show and go before fending off her opposite number and touching down.

Tigers look to keep building back into this matchup and, although they lose the ball from kick off, Tash follows up her try with an astute turnover and kick to touch just outside of Bears 22. The side can’t make it count however and after several minutes of sustained possession, Bears turn the ball over on their own line and eventually win a penalty, kicking to touch then breaking into Tigers’ half.

After fifteen straight minutes of pressure, Bears finally regather possession and make it count instantly, three quickfire tries putting the game to bed.

Firstly, fullback Ella Lovibond dots down for successive scores, one in either corner as the side exploit space in the wide areas before Red Rose prop Hannah Botterman enters from the bench and gets a score, taking an offload at the line and powering over.

Leicester have little to fight for but a try bonus point, which they get through another rolling maul score from Cokayne; a hat-trick from the hooker who has now scored her first, second and third tries for Tigers all in the same game.

As bodies tire, Bears get the final words through Wales flanker Alisha Joyce-Butchers before substitute hooker Bobbie Jackson scores with the clock in the red.

A tough defeat where the scoreline doesn’t fully reflect the game, Leicester Tigers had enough chances to win that game, if their defence had been more solid.  

Full time score: Bristol Bears 62 – 24 Leicester Tigers

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

BRI 33-12 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

BRI 62-24 LEI

Attendance

Not available

Referee

Hamish Grant

Bristol Bears Women
Bristol Bears Women
62

Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
24
Bristol Bears Women
T
C
T
C
T
C
C
T
C
T
C
T
C
T
C
T
C
T
C
T
C
KOHTFT
Leicester Tigers
T
C
T
T
C
T
C

Match Stats

Bristol Bears Women
Leicester Tigers
Possession
60%
40%
Territory
44%
56%
Penalties Conceded
11
8
Yellow Cards
0
0
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
89/98 91%
170/218 78%
Scrums Won
4/4 100%
9/9 100%
Lineouts Won
8/10 80%
13/16 81%

Player Stats

Bristol Bears Women
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Amanda Swartz
14Orla Proctor
13Katie Childs
12Sarah Nicholas2C
11Francesca McGhie
10Natasha Jones1T
9Amy Relf
1Leah Bartlett
2Amy Cokayne3T
3Lisa Cockburn
4Eva Donaldson
5Charlotte Fray
6Morgan Richardson
7Roisin McBrien
8Becky Noon
16Elis Martin
17Jade Jones
18Georgie Grimes
19Alana Bainbridge
20Jemima Moss
21Lucy Nye
22Zoe Warrington
23Zoe Evans

Commentary

FULL TIME AT ASHTON GATE

Bears put a bow on their performance with a final score and the whistle blows.

Once again, positives to take, especially in attack but a game Bears side brought plenty of fight today and ultimately it was too much for Tigers.

Full time score: Bristol Bears 62 - 24 Leicester Tigers

CONVERSION MISSED | BRISTOL BEARS

Conversion missed by Bristol Bears.

TRY | BRISTOL BEARS

Bobbie Jackson breaks free to finish the game.

CONVERSION MISSED | BRISTOL BEARS

Conversion missed by Amber Reed.

TRY | BRISTOL BEARS

Alisha Joyce-Butchers drives over for her first of the game.

CONVERSION | SARAH NICHOLAS

Sarah Nicholas nails the conversion.

TRY | AMY COKAYNE

The visitors win a lineout deep inside Bears territory, and fresh legs in the pack pay off as Amy Cokayne drives over for her second.

SUBSITUTION | LEICESTER TIGERS

Another double substitution for Tigers, Jemima Moss comes off for Zoe Warrington, and Georgie Grimes comes on for Lisa Cockburn.

CONVERSION | BRISTOL BEARS

Amber Reed finds the extras.

TRY | HANNAH BOTTERMAN

Bristol create a break on the wing, and the ball is offloaded to Red Rose prop Hannah Botterman, charging over.

CONVERSION MISSED | BRISTOL BEARS

Amber Reed misses the conversion.

TRY | BRISTOL BEARS

Bears find space on the wing and Ella Lovibond is able to capitalise on the two on one.

CONVERSION| BRISTOL BEARS

Amber Reed nails the conversion.

TRY | BRISTOL BEARS

Bears have kept their foot on the gas so far, but Tigers are able to exit at the cost of a lineout in their 22.

Fast passes down the pitch find Ella Lovibond, who sidesteps her way over the gainline and dives over for the score.

SUBSTITUTION | LEICESTER TIGERS

In a double substitution for Tigers, Scottish International Leah Bartlett comes off for Jade Jones.

A change at scrum-half too as Lucy Nye comes on for Amy Relf. 

CONVERSION MISSED | SARAH NICHOLAS

Nicholas' kick is just wide of the posts.

TRY | NATASHA JONES

Following a lineout in Bristols 22, Bears are unable to hold back Tigers maul, bringing the visitors right to the tryline.

A succession of fast hands finds the ball in Natasha Jones' hands, who charges over for the captain's first of the game.

SUBSTITUTION | LEICESTER TIGERS

Flanker Eva Donaldson comes off for fellow Scot Elis Martin, who makes her debut in the back row. 

SECOND HALF UNDERWAY

Captain Natasha Jones kicks us off deep into Bears territory.

HALF-TIME

A tough first half draws to an end, Tigers have been strong in attack, but have so far been unable to hold back the home side. 

 

HALF TIME SCORE: BRISTOL BEARS 33-12 LEICESTER TIGERS

CONVERSION | BRISTOL BEARS

Try converted by Amber Reed.

TRY | BRISTOL BEARS

A series of offloads finds Bears in the middle of the park, the ball reachers Row Marston-Mulhearn who goes over.

CONVERSION | BRISTOL BEARS

Conversion successful by Amber Reed.

TRY | BRISTOL BEARS

The home side get loose on their 22, and Keira Bevan scores her second of the game

CONVERSION | SARAH NICHOLAS

Sarah Nicholas finds the extras.

TRY | CHARLOTTE FRAY

A Tigers maul from a lineout pushes Charlotte Fray over for Tigers' 2nd.

CONVERSION | AMBER REED

Try converted by Amber Reed.

TRY | BRISTOL BEARS

Bears find open space on their 22, prop Simi Pam gets the score.

CONVERSION | AMBER REED

Amber Reed collects the extras.

TRY | BRISTOL BEARS

Fast passes from Bears catch the visitors off guard and Millie David breaks through.

23

SUPERB DEFENCE FROM TIGERS

Tigers have been defending well so far; Amanda Swartz, Amy Relf and Francesca McGhie have all been working hard to gain valuable meters. 

15

TIGERS EXIT WELL

A misscommunication at the home side's lineout gives Tigers the ball, which is cleared by Cokayne with a fantastic spiral.

CONVERSION MISSED | SARAH NICHOLAS

Sarah Nicholas misses the conversion.

TRY | AMY COKAYNE

Tigers earn a penalty on the 22, a maul off a lineout gives Red Rose Amy Cokayne her first try in Tigers colours!

CONVERSION MISSED | AMBER REED

Amber Reed misses the conversion.

TRY | KEIRA BEVAN

In what has so far been a true test in the midfield, Keira Bevan breaks free with a pick and go for the first score of the game.

WE'RE UNDERWAY AT ASHTON GATE!

Amber Reed kicks us off and our Allianz Premiership Women's Rugby clash with Bristol Bears is underway!

-15

15 MINUTES TILL KICKOFF

Both teams are well into their warmup and looking sharp, these bright conditions will be ideal for some fast paced, flowing rugby. 

A reminder that today's fixture is not on TNT Sports so stay tuned for all your live match updates.

-30

30 MINS TILL KICKOFF

We are 30 minutes away from kickoff at a sunny Ashton Gate for our away fixture against Bristol Bears.

As the stands begin to fill, amongst the navy blue we can catch glimpses of green shirts; Tigers Family who have made the journey south-west to support the girls.

Look out for young winger Orla Proctor who has earned her first start in green red and white, and veteran Red Rose hooker Amy Cokayne, who returns to the squad following a Grand Slam Six Nations win. 


Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Ella Lovibond
14
Millie David
13
Megan Webb
12
Meryl Smith
11
Deborah Wills
10
Amber Reed
9
Keira Bevan
1
Simi Pam
2
Rosie Carr
3
Elliann Clarke
4
Hollie Cunningham
5
Delaney Burns
6
Alisha Butchers
7
Evie Gallagher
8
Rownita Marston-Mulhearn

Replacements

16
Bobbie Jackson
17
Hannah Botterman
18
Ellie Marston-Mulhearn
19
Christiana Balogun
20
Gabriella Nigrelli
21
Lucy Burgess
22
Courtney Keight
23
Jenny Hesketh

Team News | Cokayne returns as Tigers are Bristol bound

Figure image

Leicester Tigers have named the matchday squad to face Bristol Bears in Round 16 of Allianz Premiership Women's Rugby, the side travelling south to Ashton Gate this Sunday.

Charlotte Fray, who starts at lock alongside Scottish international Eva Donaldson, will reach the 20-game milestone for the club.

Elsewhere in the pack, England hooker Amy Cokayne returns to club duty after helping the national side to a third successive Grand Slam in this season’s Guinness Women’s Six Nations.

In the backline, Orla Proctor is named for her Leicester Tigers debut as part of a back-three including Francesca McGhie and Amanda Swartz.

The bench includes Jemima Moss, who will make her first league appearance if used, while also sees the return of Lucy Nye.

Proctor, Nye and Cokayne all return after featuring for the Royal Air Force in the inter-services competition in recent weeks.

STARTING XV

15 Amanda Swartz [13]
14 Orla Proctor *
13 Katie Childs [27]
12 Sarah Nicholas [12]
11 Francesca McGhie [12]
10 Natasha Jones (c) [35]
9 Amy Relf [34]
1 Leah Bartlett [13]
2 Amy Cokayne [2]
3 Lisa Cockburn [12]
4 Eva Donaldson [12]
5 Charlotte Fray [19]
6 Morgan Richardson [35]
7 Roisin McBrien [32]
8 Becky Noon [34]

REPLACEMENTS

16 Elis Martin [12]
17 Jade Jones [20]
18 Georgie Grimes [7]
19 Zoe Warrington [21]
20 Jemima Moss [1]
21 Alana Bainbridge [15]
22 Lucy Nye [17]
23 Zoë Evans [23]


Tickets are on sale now for the final match at Tigers HQ this season, as Leicester Tigers battle Sale Sharks Women.

Be there for the finale of our first-ever season in Allianz Premiership Women's Rugby!

Tickets are available from just £5 for Juniors and £12 for adults and is included as the final match in the 2023/24 women's Season Ticket.

posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
3
Bristol Bears Women
Bristol Bears WomenBRI161105515280235834412258
9
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI162014300655-355471036110
Form Guide
Form
WWWLW
Last Match
Beat Saracens Women 29-21
Past Meeting
Won 62-24
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
LLLLL
Last Match
Lost to Exeter Chiefs Women 27-59
Past Meeting
Lost 24-62

Matchday Live

Bristol Bears Women62
Bristol Bears Women
Leicester Tigers24
Leicester Tigers
Full Time