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Report | Tigers fall late on to champions in thriller at home

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Leicester Tigers lead for 75 minutes of an engrossing contest with Gloucester-Hartpury, the Champions showing their mettle and experience to secure a late lead and the victory.

Meg Jones receives the ball from kick off and Tigers get off to a strong start. An initial tight couple of carries sucks in defenders before flat hands sees Roisin McBrien punch through a hole early, sprinting up to halfway. She offloads well to a supporting Meg Jones, who feeds Amelia Tutt sprinting through, Tigers making it up to the 22 before being tackled into touch.

Gloucester-Hartpury clear their lines but Tutt runs it back, making to halfway and allowing the side to recycle, an unfortunate knock on a few phases later briefly halting the momentum.

Abrasive play follows in midfield, the likes of Keia Mae Sagapolu Sanele, Leah Bartlett and Catha Jacobs powering over the gain line before Francesca McGhie gets her first chance of the game, making ten metres before being hauled down.

With momentum firmly in their favour, Tigers get the first try of the day. From the set piece the side play wide, swift hands out left finding Tutt who’s made a dart round the back, the Wales international making a half break before offloading well in contact to McGhie, who then pops inside to Roisin McBrien on a storming line. She’s on the opposition 22 but the flanker puts on the afterburners to touch down in delight.

Just a couple of minutes later, the crowd are on their feet as Tigers turn over a scrum on halfway and swift hands see McGhie score a wonder try from halfway; however, it’s cruelly ruled out, the referee pulling back for an infringement at the scrum.

Gloucester-Hartpury kick dangerously to touch from the penalty but it’s still all Tigers, the home side winning it back and attacking themselves, McGhie and Meg Jones combining well to make it back up to halfway.

The ball heads back to the forwards, the visitors needing to front up in defence as Lisa Cockburn and Julia Omokhuale both make metres, the latter on a bulldozing line. Possession trades hands a couple of times here as both sides play for territory.

But, an astute Jones spots an opportunity to increase the home lead, blocking a clearance and grubbering through on the floor and diving on the ball to double the lead.

G-H come back firing, driving right to five metres out; a McBrien vital turnover on her own line looks like Tigers will keep the Champions out for the whole first half but cruelly, as Tigers try to clear their lines, a nightmare knock-on from Claire Gallagher means the visitors have the scrum five metres out and centre Kerin Lake makes Tigers pay with a strong try in the corner.

With just a couple of minutes left in the half, Tahlia Brody does superbly to rise highest and win the ball from kick off, Omokhuale then battering through to seize the impetus back.

As the game gets scrappy, the visitors make it all the way down Tigers five metre line, aiming to level the score at half-time. But McGhie does really well to evade tackles to run it up to the 22 and then Tigers are going for it, flying up the field, swift hands going from left touchline to right, Tutt making a half break before the ball comes sailing all the way back and McGhie finishes in style in the left corner to end the half on a huge high.

Half time score: Leicester Tigers 19 – 07 Gloucester-Hartpury

The second half starts as the first one ended, Tigers are on top from the off, Jacobs setting the tone with a crashing line that sees her fly through two defenders. The forwards are piling into contact, each of them gaining incremental metres and putting the visitors on the backfoot straight out of the blocks.

Tigers stay patient and get the first score of the second half, finally going out the back to Meg Jones who whips the ball wide to Tutt to go over in the right corner, a two on one executed to perfection. Jones then follows that up with a booming touchline conversion and Tigers are enjoying a 19 point lead over.

However, these will be the final points the side enjoy. To have got over the half-way point of the season and still be unbeaten you have to be made of stern stuff and the current Premiership Champions instantly come roaring back into it.

Storming carries across the park drive the side up the field until a penalty is given beneath the posts. G-H initially play the advantage but when it’s called back, experienced Red Rose Alex Matthews takes the penalty quick and dives over in front of the posts.

From there, the Champions wrestle momentum back firmly, enjoying the lions share of possession and all of the field tilt, smashing into contact and dominating the ball.

The heavens have firmly opened up here at Mattioli Woods Welford Road at a critical juncture, the carry favouring G-H far more comfortable in the torrential conditions than a Tigers side who favour flinging the ball wide.

It all comes together in successive scores for wing Cath Richards that see the away side suck in all the defenders with massive midfield carries, battering all the way to the five metre before sending it wide for the wing to dive over and level the scores.

A tumultuous last five minutes sees both sides have opportunities, chief among them Meg Jones who takes a penalty quick and jinks through but, after turning the ball over, the Circus finally get in front, substitute Emma Sing scoring to the left of the posts after the side had rumbled to the Tigers line off the back of a storming maul.

Tigers have one last shot at glory; they initially make it up the 22 before G-H clear their lines. The home side responding with an absolutely MASSIVE 50:22 from Sarah Nicholas, a ludicrous kick on the spin that gets the bench and crowd to their feet. The bodies pile in and the side make inch after inch of progress but finally are held up after making it over the line and the final whistle blows.

To get both a try bonus and losing point against the reigning Champions, against the league’s only unbeaten side and the team that ‘beat us up’ at Kingsholm, with Tigers 49-0 down at half-time, this represents a huge step forward. However, it doesn’t mean the defeat doesn’t sting and Tigers will rue their missed chances ahead of next week’s Leicestershire derby against Loughborough Lightning.

Full time score: Leicester Tigers 26 – 33 Gloucester-Hartpury

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 19-7 GLO

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 26-33 GLO


Not available


Holly Wood

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers

Full Time

Gloucester-Hartpury Women RFC
Gloucester-Hartpury Women RFC
Leicester Tigers
Gloucester-Hartpury Women RFC

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Gloucester-Hartpury Women RFC
Penalties Conceded
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
Tackles Won
152/172 88%
196/229 86%
Scrums Won
6/7 86%
8/8 100%
Lineouts Won
7/9 78%
8/12 67%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Gloucester-Hartpury Women RFC
Leicester Tigers
15Tess Feury
14Amelia Tutt1T
13Megan Jones1T3C
12Claire Gallagher
11Francesca McGhie1T
10Natasha Jones
9Amy Relf
1Leah Bartlett
2Elis Martin
3Lisa Cockburn
4Julia Omokhuale
5Catha Jacobs
6Keia Mae Sagapolu Sanele
7Roisin McBrien1T
8Tahlia Brody
16Alana Bainbridge
17Churchy Knight
18Charlotte Fray
19Becky Noon
20Eva Donaldson
21Morgan Richardson
22Lucy Nye
23Sarah Nicholas



The Champions seal the win in the last five minutes after a try filled game.

Final score: Leicester Tigers 26 - 33 Gloucester-Hartpury


The conversion is successful and the lead extended.


The visitors take the lead following a maul, Emma Sing diving over.


A touchline conversion draws things level.


The Champions draw level after a series of big carries sets the stage for slick hands wide, wing Cath Richards diving over again.


The visitors strike again, this time slick hands allowing wing Cath Richards to go over in the corner.


Lleucu George adds the extras.


Red Rose Alex Matthews reduces the defecit with a brutal carry beneath the posts.


Incredible touchline conversion from the Red Rose stretches the lead.


Storming start to the second half, as Tigers go over in the corner.

Attritional carries from the forwards gets the side up the five metre line before the ball is whipped wide to the wing to dive over the whitewash.


Tigers lead at the break after tries from Roisin McBrien, Meg Jones and Francesca McGhie!

Leicester Tigers 19 - 7 Gloucester-Hartpury


The Scot reestablishes Tigers lead, a fluid passage of play starting on Tigers own five metre line, spanning the width of the pitch and making it all the way to the line.


The visitors add the extras and it's a seven point game.


The visitors strike back, centre Kerin Lake diving over after a five metre scrum.


Jones adds the extras and extends the home lead.


Huge moment!

Gloucester-Hartpury look to clear their lines but Jones dives in front of the kick. As the ball ricochets away, the Red Rose grubbers it through and then dives over to extend the Tigers lead!

Conversion | Meg Jones

Jones adds the extras and stretches the lead!


Tigers strike first against the Champions!

Slick hands in midfield sees Amelia Tutt make a half-break, offloading in contact to Francesca McGhie who steps outside but pops back inwards. Roisin McBrien storms through, from just outside the opposition 22 and dives over to open the scoring.


Round 10 of Allianz Premiership Women's Rugby and the second installment of the women's Slater Cup is underway!


20 minutes to go!

Just twenty minutes to go until Leicester Tigers compete for the Slater Cup against Gloucester-Hartpury!

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

Lizzie Goulden
Catherine Richards
Pip Hendy
Kerin Lake
Nel Metcalfe
Lleucu George
Bianca Blackburn
Kathryn Buggy
Neve Jones
Maud Muir
Liz Shermer
Steph Else
Georgia Brock
Bethan Lewis
Alex Matthews


Amy Dale
Laura Delgado
Cerys Hale
Gwen Crabb
Kate Williams
Caity Mattinson
Emma Sing
Millie Hyett

Preview | Champions to pose stern test for return home

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Leicester Tigers finally secured that elusive first-ever win in Allianz Premiership Women's Rugby, two weeks ago away at Sale Sharks. A joyous moment for the club and everyone attached to it, the week break has allowed the side to enjoy the sweetness of victory for that while longer. Tomorrow, however, focus turns to the next challenge, one as gargantuan as possible in the Premiership; the reigning Champions, the only side still undefeated, Gloucester-Hartpury.

Two weeks ago, Tigers were alert to the heavy carrying threat that the Sharks brought to the table, the home side having recording the second highest carry dominance rate of any team in the league and the physicality Tigers brought was imperative to the win, the team recording 152 tackles to secure the victory.

However, the skillset of tomorrow's visitors represent Leicester being thrown straight from the frying pan and into the fire when it comes to fronting up in defence. Gloucester-Hartpury have the highest carry dominance rate of any team in this season’s Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby (59%) and have also committed 2+ opposition tacklers from a greater percentage of their carries than any other team in the league this term (52.4%).

The team will have to be at their best defensively, especially when missing the hard work of Becky Noon and Morgan Richardson, the two highest tacklers in the league this year with 131 and 117 tackles respectively, who both start amongst the replacements.

This contest will be one for those who enjoy the biggest hits the game has to offer, the match set to feature the league's the two teams with the highest dominant tackle %, with 9.5 and 9.7 dominant tackles per game for each team respectively.

Although Tigers just trail the visitors in dominant tackles per 80 minutes, they possess the league's heaviest hitter in prop / flanker Keia Mae Sagapolu Sanele, who has made the joint-most dominant tackles of any player in the league this term (13, level with Sadia Kabeya).

Finally, in addition to a physical match up, it's one that will see an intruiging kicking battle. Gloucester-Hartpury are the only team to have made 20+ kicks in play per game in this season’s Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby (20.6), while only Saracens (14.8%) have retained possession from a higher share of their open-play kicks than Leicester (14.7%) in the league this term, the chip and chase and kick pass weapon possessed by Meg Jones a constant threat to any opposition.

posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
Gloucester-Hartpury Women RFC
Gloucester-Hartpury Women RFCGLO131300442241201703912064
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI122010216451-2353472418
Form Guide
Last Match
Lost to Ealing Trailfinders Women 5-54
Past Meeting
Lost 26-33
Last Match
Past Meeting
Last Match
Beat Harlequins Women 57-24
Past Meeting
Won 33-26

Matchday Live

Leicester Tigers26
Leicester Tigers
Gloucester-Hartpury Women RFC33
Gloucester-Hartpury Women RFC
Full Time