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Report | Tigers fall to experienced, physical Harlequins

Figure image

A sunny day down South sees Leicester Tigers battle hard throughout but ultimately fall to an experienced Harlequins side who just had too much physically.

The Stoop is basking in gold as the game kicks off, a relentless sun beating down on the players, conditions which are balanced beautifully with a cooling breeze. The weather doesn’t get much more perfect for rugby as Natasha Jones kicks high into the sky.

The visitors enjoy a strong start, blocking a kick to clear and Tigers carry hard to open the game, Lisa Cockburn and Leah Bartlett carrying straight before debutant Celia Quansah gets her hands on the ball for the first time, straightening her run and crashing over the gainline. Moments later, the ball is in her hands again, as scrum half Amy Relf spots space on the blindside and an effective miss-pass allows Roisin McBrien to put Quansah into space, ‘Quins fullback Emily Scott coming across to cover well.

The team’s trade possession a couple of times but, in the opening set pieces, Tigers have mixed fortunes; Natasha Jones does well to show and go through a gap from a line out, but, a few minutes later, Tigers concede a penalty on their own scrum. Quins aim to play it quickly but they’re met with a fierce Tigers defence, Charlotte Fray first making her presence felt before Quansah smashes her opposite number into touch.

That hard work is undone by a miscommunication at the line out which sees the hosts win it back 20 metres into the Tigers half and they crash all the way up the line. From here, the quarters play the phases and eventually slick hands see them find space and run it over for the game’s opening score, wing Amy Layzell the scorer.

Moments later, they have their second. From the scrum, the hosts break through and turn the screw; from a handful of metres out, on her 100th appearance for Harlequins, Shaughna Brown rides a tackle and crashes over to double the lead.

Not to be deterred, Leicester come back firing. A penalty is given for not rolling away just past half way and Jones kicks to touch on the opposition 22. A great line out from Elis Martin gets the maul rumbling; the drive is halted after a few metres but the ball comes out the back and now it’s Tigers turn to carry hard, winning a penalty under the posts and opting for the scrum.

Relfy pulls a rabbit out of the hat here as Tigers get their first try. No 8. Becky Noon picks from the base and flicks it to the scrum half on the run. She passes laterally to Jones, then makes a run out the back to receive it before whipping a looping miss-pass over several bodies to the waiting arms of Francesca McGhie. The wing won’t score an easier try all year.

Sarah Nicholas slots from the left touchline and now we’ve a game on our hands.

A succession of scrums (AKA a Dan Cole dream) sees play not leave the central third of the pitch for the next six or seven minutes as neither side can quite keep the ball. Eventually Tigers win it back and truck it up through Bartlett and Fray to set a platform to clear; but the referee pings for obstruction and a dangerous penalty is called. From here, the hosts get the maul driving and touch down.

Quins threaten to score again but Tigers continue to battle and get two vital turnovers; the first, a knock on forced by a Quansah tackle before, following a clearance, Amanda Swartz dives over a ruck expertly to clinch a turnover. From the line out, Katie Childs carries in direct and strong but a second line out sees the ball lost.

The hosts now travel back into Tigers’ 22; Childs and Nicholas stop a fellow centre in her tracks on a hard line before Fray does brilliantly to rip away possession. When Celia Quansah first joined, she spoke about the hours and hours of catching practice she did when she first picked up rugby and she puts those skills to use here, catching a fizzing pass on her toes to keep possession. However, again Tigers are penned in when Swartz’ clearance kick is charged down and the ball skids into touch. A pressure line out is won coolly and Natasha Jones manages the clearance on the second attempt.  

Quins have a last gasp at a final score before time but Tigers force a knock on and Amy Relf kicks to touch to end the half.

Half time score: Harlequins 21 – 7 Leicester Tigers

It’s a tough start to the half for the visitors.

After receiving Cromack’s kick off, Tigers are playing the phases, trucking it up to halfway but see the ball ripped away in contact. With broken field ahead of them, Quins break wide before cutting back inside and fly half Cromack the scorer.

Yet again Tigers waste no time in bouncing back. Flat hands down the line sees the side spot an overlap on the left, quickly fashioning a two on one situation on the touchline. Fullback Swartz has joined the line and takes the kick option, grubbering through for McGhie to run on at full tilt and dive over in the corner.

Momentum doesn’t stay with them however; prop Leah Bartlett is shown the yellow card for a high tackle in midfield. Jade Jones, now on for her 20th Tigers appearance and is instantly involved, firstly helping solidify the scrum before trucking up right over the gainline a couple of phases later.

Quins clear their lines but Swartz booms it right back and an admirable kick chase from Charlotte Daley, just onto the field in place of Quansah, and Katie Childs sees the latter make a big tackle on halfway before McGhie forces a knock on as the hosts try to go wide.

The conditions, you feel, are beginning to weigh on both sides, the constant heat seeing both sides struggle for consistency in their play, trading possession. A highlight of this time sees Childs, who has been really showing that Tigers toughness today, putting in yet another sizeable shot in midfield, dump tackling her opposite number.

However, it’s the hosts who finally break the deadlock and it’s lock Lochner (try saying that ten times fast) who smashes over from close range after Quins had gone through a gap in midfield.

With just ten minutes left, Tigers continue to ask questions of Quins, replacements Jones and Zoë Evans both carrying well in the centre and far side of the pitch respectively.

With just seconds left on the clock, Quins break down the right touchline. Evans does superbly to zip back and make a try-saving tackle but she can't stop the ball being flung back, picked up by supporting centre Izzy Mayhew who touches down.

Five minutes into the clock in the red, Quins put a bow on their performance with a final score.

Tigers went hammer and tongs to attempt to finish on a high, flinging the ball around but eventually losing possession; here the hosts strike, replacement Aseze Hele driving over.

With the clock in the red, the match is now over. A tough day at the office, a match with a lot of bright spots for Tigers sadly ends in defeat.

Full time score: Harlequins 47 – 12 Leicester Tigers

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

HAR 21-7 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

HAR 47-12 LEI

Attendance

Not available

Referee

Andy Wigley

Harlequins Women
Harlequins Women
47

Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
12
Harlequins Women
T
C
T
C
T
C
T
C
T
C
T
T
C
KOHTFT
Leicester Tigers
T
C
T

Match Stats

Harlequins Women
Leicester Tigers
Possession
47%
53%
Territory
68%
32%
Penalties Conceded
12
10
Yellow Cards
1
1
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
128/135 95%
112/128 88%
Scrums Won
5/6 83%
10/13 77%
Lineouts Won
7/10 70%
11/14 79%

Player Stats

Harlequins Women
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Amanda Swartz
14Celia Quansah
13Katie Childs
12Sarah Nicholas1C
11Francesca McGhie2T
10Natasha Jones
9Amy Relf
1Leah Bartlett
2Elis Martin
3Lisa Cockburn
4Eva Donaldson
5Charlotte Fray
6Morgan Richardson
7Roisin McBrien
8Becky Noon
16Alana Bainbridge
17Jade Jones
18Georgie Grimes
19Tanya Bird
20Maddie Massey
21Zoe Warrington
22Charlotte Daley
23Zoe Evans

Commentary

FULL TIME HERE AT THE STOOP

The final whistle blows, with the clock already in the red.

Final score: Harlequins 47 - 12 Leicester Tigers

CONVERSION | HARLEQUINS

Cromack adds the extras once again and the final whistle is blown.

TRY | HARLEQUINS

Quins put a bow on their performance with a final score; Tigers went hammer and tongs to attempt to finish on a high but they eventually lost the ball and the hosts struck, replacement Aseze Hele driving over.

TRY | IZZY MAYHEW

With just seconds left on the clock, Quins break down the right touchline. Evans does superbly to zip back and make a try-saving tackle but she can't stop the ball being flung back, picked up by supporting centre Izzy Mayhew who touches down.

CONVERSION | HARLEQUINS

Cromack continues her 100% kick record by slotting another.

TRY | HARLEQUINS

Lock Danelle Lochner smashes over from close range after Quins had gone through a gap in midfield.

66

MILESTONE FOR JONES

In another milestone, Jade Jones officially reaches 20 appearances for Leicester Tigers.

SUBSTITUTIONS | LEICESTER TIGERS

Tigers have changed both wings and sent on a whole new front row, as Alana Bainbridge, Georgie Grimes, Jade Jones anchor the pack as Charlotte Daley and Zoë Evans have added pace to both wings.

YELLOW CARD | LEAH BARTLETT

The prop is shown to the sin bin after the referee adjudicates she's performed a high tackle.

TRY | FRANCESCA MCGHIE

Tigers now strike!

Lateral hands down the line sees a two on one situation out wide; Amanda Swartz takes the kick option, grubbering through for McGhie to run on at full tilt and dive over.

CONVERSION | HARLEQUINS

Cromack adds the extras to her own try.

TRY | HARLEQUINS

Tough way to start the half.

Tigers are playing the phases, trucking it up to halfway but see the ball ripped away in contact; with broken field ahead of them, Quins break and it's fly half Ella Cromack who scores.

THE SECOND HALF IS UNDERWAY

Ella Cromack kicks us off as the second 40 gets started.

HALF TIME

Amy Relf boots it into touch and the half time whistle is blown.

Half time score: Harlequins 21 - 7 Leicester Tigers

CONVERSION | HARLEQUINS

Ella Cromack adds the extras again.

TRY | HARLEQUINS

A penalty is called for obstructing the kicker as Tigers look to clear and it's in a dangerous position.

Quins kick to touch and get the drive on; Tigers hold on for as long as they can but eventually the pressure tells and it's mauled over, Connie Powell the scorer.

CONVERSION | SARAH NICHOLAS

From the far left touchline, Nicholas hits it perfectly, the kick just about having the legs to drop over the crossbar.

Seven points now the defecit.

TRY | FRANCESCA MCGHIE

Magic from Amy Relf!

Tigers are back in it; a scrum on the five metre sees a slick move where the scrum half runs a switch out the back of Tash Jones before whipping a miss-pass right over the top to McGhie who walks over.

CONVERSION | QUINS

Ella Cromack adds the extras.

TRY | HARLEQUINS

A quickfire double for the hosts.

From the scrum around halfway, Quins find space and shoot through, making it to the line where Shaughna Brown picks, goes and touches down.

CONVERSION | QUINS

Ella Cromack adds the extras.

TRY | HARLEQUINS

Quins get the opening score of the game; playing the phases all the way to the line, they then whip the ball wide and wing Amy Layzell finds space to run through and touch down.

KICK OFF

Natasha Jones gets us underway today with a lofted kick into a sunny sky: Allianz Premiership Women's Rugby returns.

Come on you Tigers!

-5

CONDITIONS PERFECT AS WE GET READY FOR KICK OFF

The Stoop is basking in gold as we get ready for kick off, a relentless sun beating down on the players, conditions which are balanced beautifully with a cooling breeze.

Rugby weather doesn't get much better!

-20

GET THE FULL STORY

In case you missed it, here is today's Team News as well as the full Match Preview.

The big story of the day see's Olympian Celia Quansah get set for her first-ever Leicester Tigers appearance, as well as her first game of XV's rugby since 2021!

-30

HALF AN HOUR TILL KICK OFF!

There's just half an hour to go till we are underway in our return to Allianz Premiership Women's Rugby, as we battle Harlequins!

A reminder that you can watch the game LIVE via YouTube, where it will be streamed, just click the above link.

Otherwise, stay with us right here on Matchday Live or @TigersWomens on X for all the live updates from the Twickenham Stoop.


Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Emily Scott
14
Amy Layzell
13
Izzy Mayhew
12
Lagi Tuima
11
Lisa Neumann
10
Ella Cromack
9
Lucy Packer
1
Silvia Turani
2
Connie Powell
3
Babalwa Latsha
4
Abbie Fleming
5
Danelle Lochner
6
Shaunagh Brown
7
Emily Robinson
8
Jade Konkel-Roberts

Replacements

16
Carys Phillips
17
Sheree Cooper
18
Hannah Duffy
19
Ciara Cooney
20
Aseza Hele
21
Amelia Harper
22
Flo Robinson
23
Rachael Burford

Team News | Tigers team for return to Allianz PWR action

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Leicester Tigers have named the matchday squad to face Harlequins Women in Round 15 of Allianz Premiership Women's Rugby.

Natasha Jones captains the side for the trip to London, while Jade Jones, if used from the bench, will reach the 20-game milestone for the club.

The match will also see Celia Quansah make her first appearance for Leicester Tigers, the Olympian and Team GB 7s star having signed for the club over the summer.

The starting pack sees four changes to the side's last outing, in the Allianz Cup, including an entirely new front row.

Having returned from the 2024 Guinness Six Nations, Scotland internationals Leah Bartlett, Elis Martin and Lisa Cockburn make up the ABC club, whilst international compatriot Eva Donaldson starts at lock.

Meanwhile, in the backs, Francesca McGhie also returns from Six Nations duty to start on one wing, while the aforementioned Quansah comes straight into the starting XV to line up on the opposite flank.

Amongst the replacements, Georgie Grimes and Charlotte Daley are set for their maiden Allianz Premiership Women's Rugby appearances of the season, if brought on from the bench.

STARTING XV

15 Amanda Swartz [12]
14 Celia Quansah *
13 Katie Childs [26]
12 Sarah Nicholas [11]
11 Francesca McGhie [11]
10 Natasha Jones (c) [34]
9 Amy Relf [33]
1 Leah Bartlett [12]
2 Elis Martin [11]
3 Lisa Cockburn [11]
4 Eva Donaldson [11]
5 Charlotte Fray [18]
6 Morgan Richardson [34]
7 Roisin McBrien [31]
8 Becky Noon [33]

REPLACEMENTS

16 Alana Bainbridge [14]
17 Jade Jones [19]
18 Georgie Grimes [6]
19 Maddie Massey [3]
20 Tanya Bird [20]
21 Zoe Warrington [20]
22 Charlotte Daley [9]
23 Zoë Evans [23]

* Leicester Tigers debut


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 women's Season Ticket.

posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
7
Harlequins Women
Harlequins WomenHAR164111403513-11061798329
9
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI162014300655-355471036110
Form Guide
Form
WWLLL
Last Match
Lost to Ealing Trailfinders Women 27-54
Past Meeting
Won 47-12
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
LLLLL
Last Match
Lost to Exeter Chiefs Women 27-59
Past Meeting
Lost 12-47

Matchday Live

Harlequins Women47
Harlequins Women
Leicester Tigers12
Leicester Tigers
Full Time