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Report | Tigers fall to tough Trailfinders

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On a windy afternoon in London, Leicester Tigers were defeated by a hard working Trailfinders Women, who claimed their first win in Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby.

Downing Tigers in a performance of staunch defence and physical attack, the away side were severely disappointed; large swathes of quality play, undone at the last second on several occasions.

 

The game starts as difficultly as is physically possible. Trailfinders touch the turf with two tries in ten minutes as Tigers are slow to get out of the box. The hosts keep possession for basically this entire period. Sending in strong runners on tight lines to score first a driving try and then, for the second, working the ball wide to find space in the corner.

There’s a swift rallying cry amongst the Tigers players and the away side are spurred back into life quickly. They establish a foothold, with a great mixture of running, driving carries from the pack and a lovely, jinking run from Meg Jones to keep building over the gainline.

As they build into Trailfinders half, they win successive penalties, the first kicked to the 22 where the ball is spread wide and carried hard in the centre of the field before the second is kicked to five metres out.

Tigers, the wind in their sail, pull off a picture perfect driving maul, a dart of a throw by Elis Martin, who then collects the ball at the back of the driving maul to dive over and score her first try in a Tigers jersey.

This end-to-end contest looks like Trailfinders will turn right back around and score themselves. They keep the ball tight and send in their abrasive pack but the ball is turned over right on Tigers line to huge cheers from the away bench.

Meg Jones hoofs the ball up to halfway to alleviate pressure and shift momentum massively. The line-out is surgical and Tigers play the ball out, probing the hosts defence with more stepping from Meg and a big straight-line carry from Katie Childs.

The defensive effort here is outstanding from Tigers, who are then camped on their own line for the better part of ten minutes; the pack are putting in relentless graft, holding the ball up, fighting for turnovers and putting in big shots, while the likes of Tess Feury do brilliantly to cover across on the far side when they try to work it wide.

But the pressure finally tells. Prop Liz Crake, who scored the hosts opening try, hits a powerful line and just gets over the line to put Trailfinders two scores ahead once again.

Tigers heads are still up and they look to counter swiftly but fate has other ideas. They win the ball back well and play nice phases but when a kick through is collected and Trailfinders reply, the hosts chip and chase pays off. The rugby ball is a cruel mistress at the best of times and here the bounce sees the egg roll right through and over the line, Trailfinders flanker Megan Barwick quickest to react and dot down for a second score in as many minutes, putting Tigers firmly back on the back foot.

Tigers try to rally in the half’s closing minutes, Meg Jones almost scoring a wonder try after a cunning quick tap & go on her own line, scorching through the opposition defence and reaching halfway before being shut down.

The whistle is blown and a tough first half comes to a close.

 

Half time score: Trailfinders Women 24 – 07 Leicester Tigers

The second half begins but it's the home side who carry the momentum from where they left off.

Red Rose Abby Dow makes her first contribution of the game with a driving run in midfield but she’s hauled down by three Tigers. A minute later, a booming clearance from Caz Collie sees Dow attempt a trademark sprint down the line but Francesca McGhie does brilliantly to cover across.

Now Tigers look to press home their openings and mount a comeback but they’re stopped agonisingly short in succession, twice by turnovers on the Trailfinders line.

M Jones kicks to touch and the ball is recycled out to Charlotte Fray who spins off and almost powers to the line, hauled down really well by opposing second row Shya Pinnock. But the ball is cruelly turned over just a phase later and the home team clear their lines.

Jones takes a penalty quick and offloads well to Fray who makes great ground. The ball is recycled quickly to substitute Sarah Nicholas who wings the ball wide to McGhie. The Scot does unbelievably well to take the ball overhead and carry back into contact but, again, the ball is turned over inches from the line.

Sandwiched between these crushing moments is a Trailfinders try that rubs that extra salt in the wound. Keia Mae Sagapolu Sanele hits a trademark driving hit on an opposing forward but the offload finds Trailfinders’ Red Rose back five player Rowenna Burnfeld who shoots into open space. From halfway she makes it to Tigers’ 22 before being hauled down. The hosts play the ball quickly and, with Tigers scrambling back in defence, the ball finds flyer Abby Dow who has the pace and guile to scythe through the line and score.

The final few minutes sees Tigers throwing the kitchen sink at their opponents, trying to force a break, find the space. But Trailfinders defence and their ruck disruption has been consistently exceptional throughout the match and they staunchly keep the side out, through a mixture of turnovers, covering of kicks through and forcing a knock on.

As the game ticks into the final seconds, Trailfinders have the ball and the impetus to push for a bow on top of their performance. Tigers scramble well to cover Dow flying down the wing, to cover the bludgeoning carries flying in from all over the field but eventually USA captain Kate Zackary is able to squeeze through and cross the whitewash to huge home cheers. Ellie Green smashes the ball through the posts and the final whistle goes.

‘Gutted’ was Meg Jones’ first reaction when speaking to LTTV following the game. A succinct summary of a tough afternoon.

 

Full time score: Trailfinders Women 36 – 07 Leicester Tigers

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

EAL 24-7 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

EAL 36-7 LEI

Attendance

Not available

Referee

Not available

Ealing Trailfinders Women
Ealing Trailfinders Women
36

Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
7
Ealing Trailfinders Women
T
C
T
T
T
C
T
T
C
KOHTFT
Leicester Tigers
T
C

Commentary

FULL TIME HERE AT TRAILFINDERS

The final whistle is blown and it's the hosts who run out winners today.

Congratulations, Trailfinders Women.

Final score: Trailfinders Women 36 - 7 Leicester Tigers

CONVERSION | TRAILFINDERS WOMEN

Ellie Green adds the extras and the final whistle is blown.

TRY | TRAILFINDERS WOMEN

USA captain Kate Zackary puts a bow on the hosts performance, a strong driving score from the No. 8 ending the match.

58

CONVERSION MISSED | TRAILFINDERS WOMEN

Ellie Green just fires it wide from the left hand side.

TRY | TRAILFINDERS WOMEN

Abby Dow touches down, after a big break in midfield from fellow Red Rose Rowenna Burnfeld.

SECOND HALF GETS UNDERWAY

Big 40 minutes ahead for Tigers as the second half begins.

HALF TIME HERE AT TRAILFINDERS

The hosts lead at the break, after a back and forth first half of action.

Trailfinders Women 24 - 7 Leicester Tigers

CONVERSION | TRAILFINDERS WOMEN

A simple nudge from Ellie Green right in front of the posts, adding the extras.

TRY | TRAILFINDERS WOMEN

A chip and chase just inside the Tigers half bounces cruelly over the line and flanker Megan Barwick dives over to touch down.

33

CONVERSION MISSED | TRAILFINDERS WOMEN

Ellie Green sends it just wide from the touchline.

TRY | TRAILFINDERS WOMEN

Prop Liz Crake gets her second of the game with a strong drive, after Trailfinders were camped on Tigers line for almost ten minutes.

CONVERSION | MEG JONES

A wonderfully struck kick from the Red Rose, from the right hand side sails through the posts to add the extras.

TRY | ELIS MARTIN

The hooker gets her first Tigers try and in classic Tigers fashion.

The side build well through nice carries in midfield, driving hard lines and jinking steps. They win two penalties in succession and each go to touch, the second setting a rolling maul that drives over to score.

11

Conversion Missed | Trailfinders Women

It's a well-struck kick from out wide but it doesnt quite have the legs.

TRY | TRAILFINDERS WOMEN

The hosts score again, this time in the corner as wing Vicky Laflin recieves the ball in space on the right and has the gas to touch down in the corner.

Conversion | Trailfinders Women

Fly half Ellie Green adds the extras and extends the hosts lead.

TRY | Trailfinders Women

Trailfinders take the initiative early doors with a deep kick into territory that is turned over well, the hosts driving over from short range.

KICK-OFF

We're underway in our Round 4 Allianz PWR match against Trailfinders Women!

-30

30 MINUTES TILL KICK-OFF

There's just half an hour to go till Leicester Tigers take on Trailfinders Women down in London.

Stick with us here on Matchday Live or follow us on X (formerly Twitter) for all the live updates in our Round 4 Allianz Premiership Women's Rugby match!


Preview | Tigers look for response against Trailfinders

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'Gutted' was the first word uttered when Leicester Tigers left the field following a maiden Leicestershire derby match with Loughborough Lightning. Through turgid, stormy weather, the side fell to a tough loss to the local rivals. But, as Senior Coach Tom Hudson put it post-match, this team is learning every day and this squad will use that result as fuel to push them further.

That chance comes again this Saturday, as the side travel to Trailfinders Women.

Workrate was one element that could not be doubted despite the defeat. Leicester Tigers recorded the highest tackle percentage of any team in an Allianz Premiership Women's Rugby match this year, making 93% of their tackles in Saturday's match.

This match is sure to be a physical encounter, with both teams boasting impressive defensive statistics. Trailfinders Women have the highest successful tackle percentage in the whole league over the opening matches, at 87%.

They are lead by Kate Zackary, who has made 36 tackles across her two matches in the competition thus far. But it is Tigers who top the tackling charts, Becky Noon (58), Morgan Richardson (46) and Eva Donaldson (41) occupying first, second and third place in the whole league when it comes to successful tackles made across the first few rounds.

Unsurprisingly, Abby Dow is the first name that springs to mind to many when assessing the dangers Trailfinders Women pose. The wing / full-back has been a stalwart for the Red Roses over the last number of the years, vital to the side's run to the World Cup final last year and was one of just four nominees for World Rugby's Women's 15's Player of the Year. She's scored two tries in the recent defeat to Saracens and, as her spectacular try from her own half in the World Cup semi-final against Canada proved, she is lethal from anywhere on the field.

But the flying back-three player is not Trailfinders' highest scorer thus far and far from their only threat.

Fly half Ellie Green, who joined from Warriors Women just a couple of weeks before the season began, is lethal from the tee.

Having landed 85.7% of her kicks in the Allianz PWR this year (with three penalties, three conversions and only one miss), she has the second highest kick success rate in the whole league, the highest for those with over five attempts at goal. Penalties in any sort of kicking range will be imperative to be avoided in order to swerve potential points at the feet of Green.

The young 10, also formerly of Harlequins, is a known factor to Tigers, having shone on her first visit to the East-Midlands in the Allianz Cup, landing five kicks to help her side to victory. This season, she's also offered threats through her playmaking but has also been happy to take the ball in herself, second only to Dow in terms of carries made for Trailfinders this season, with 15. 

In the forwards, the side also possess hard hitters the likes of England International Rowena Burnfield, a Red Rose who has over 50 caps for her country and Kate Zackary, USA Women's Captain and former captain of last year's Premiership finalists Exeter Chiefs, both of which will contribute to Trailfinders defensive resiliance.


Tickets are also now on sale for our Round 5 Allianz Premiership Women's Rugby match, at home to Saracens.

This match will take place at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, on Saturday, December 16 (kick-off: 3pm).

Come down and lend your support!

With tickets from just £12 for Adults and £5 for Juniors, it's great value to be part of our first ever season at the elite level of women's rugby.

posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
7
Ealing Trailfinders Women
Ealing Trailfinders WomenEAL10307225322-9733514218
8
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI11209197397-2003164418
Form Guide
Form
LLLLW
Last Match
Beat Leicester Tigers 29-14
Past Meeting
Won 29-14
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
LWLWL
Last Match
Lost to Ealing Trailfinders Women 14-29
Past Meeting
Lost 14-29

Matchday Live

Ealing Trailfinders Women36
Ealing Trailfinders Women
Leicester Tigers7
Leicester Tigers
Full Time