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Report | Poor first half too much to overcome for Tigers

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In the thick of dreary weather, Tigers’ slow start was ultimately their undoing, as Loughborough Lightning scored 19 unanswered points to race into a substantial lead inside twenty minutes.

Tigers fought back well in the second 40 minutes but it ultimately was not enough as the away side claimed victory in the first-ever Leicestershire derby match.


The game gets off to the worst possible start, with Lightning claiming the ball back through an early Tigers infringement. They hit a slick line-out move and, following a couple of phases, start with tidy hands to the left touchline, getting the ball to wing Bo Westcombe-Evans, who speeds through a gap and scores inside less than two minutes.

Tigers win a turnover and build momentum, with Tash kicking to touch. The home side win the line-out well but possession changes hands back and forth, both sides struggling in slippery conditions.

A five-metre scrum for Loughborough looks dangerous but Tigers do brilliantly to turn it over; from the clearance to the 22 however, Lightning build and, several short phases later, hooker Maja Meuller to drive over.

A couple of minutes later, they have their third, a rolling maul the likes of which the home crowd will be accustomed to seeing rumbles over with expert efficiency to put a bow on an a disastrous start for Tigers.

Meg Jones looks to spark the team into action with a burst down the right touchline, before Tess Feury does the same, with a lovely nudge over the top to put the pressure on fullback Chloe Rollie.

As we tick toward halftime, Jones and Francesca McGhie doubling up on a big shot before N Jones hits a driving dump tackle on an onrushing Lightning forward. Defence has stepped up significantly as the second half comes to a close and Tigers lament an incredibly difficult opening period.


Half time score: Leicester Tigers 0 – 19 Loughborough Lightning

Tigers get off to a storming start, with a slick backs move putting Tess Feury through in acres of space, allowing her to fly up to the Lightning 22.

A deep line out is well won by Tigers and Tash puts a wonderful punt wide to Tess Feury who collects in space; it looks like she’s sure to score if not for a brilliant cover tackle by Westcombe-Evans. Tigers win a penalty as they come back the other way and it’s kicked to touch again.

From the second deep line-out in as many minutes, Tigers finally breach the Lightning defence. An excellent throw by sub Elis Martin reaches Becky Noon at the tip of the line-out; from there, the rolling maul is rapidly rolling and Tigers break away rapidly at the back through Tahlia Brody, the No.8 getting her first Tigers try with a great team score.

Lightning come roaring back and the pressure is relentless; over and over the waves come until stern defence forces the away side to spill the ball and Tigers can clear. Again, Loughborough just keep coming until, just a metre out from the line, a huge turnover allows Tigers to clear their lines and regain control.

Keia Mae Sagapolu Sanele has been exceptional in the loose and a string of awesome carries, alongside her forward compatriots allow Tigers continual forward ball, crashing over the gainline.

Tigers play the phases well, mixing short tight carries, with quick hands to continually probe the Loughborough line.  Eventually, the team having scrapped and smashed their way to within an inch of the whitewash, substitute scrum-half Amy Relf cannily picks & goes to touch down amid huge Tigers celebrations.

The mood is tense but Meg Jones, typically the coolest person in a room, slots the kick with aplomb and we’re down to just a converted try separating the two sides.

It’s not to be however and Lightning’s experience at the top level pays dividends in the final 15 minutes.

They press relentlessly in attack, nothing but tight carries, inches at a time. They have a penalty for advantage and use it to turn the screw and finish the game, flinging the ball wide left for wing Westcombe-Evans to collect and speed over in the corner to increase the visitors advantage.

The last five minutes see the side throw the kitchen sink at Lightning but through a mixture of dogged defending from the visitors and small mistakes in key moments, the final whistle is blown and the game is over.

A disappointing result no matter what way you slice it, the team were visibly gutted following the match.

The turgid weather, key errors to start with, a team still adapting to one another and the league; none of that will bring any comfort to this side tonight. The only thing they can do is pick themselves up and go again next Saturday, away at Ealing Trailfinders.


Final score: Leicester Tigers 12 – 24 Loughborough Lightning

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 0-19 LOU

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 12-24 LOU




Not available

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers

Full Time

Loughborough Lightning
Loughborough Lightning
Leicester Tigers
Loughborough Lightning



The whistle blows on a difficult derby day defeat for Leicester Tigers.

Full time: Leicester Tigers 12 - 24 Loughborough Lightning


Westcombe-Evans gets her second of the game. Tigers had held firm on a massive succession of carries but the defence is finally breached as Lightning go wide and the wing touches down in the corner.


Lovely kick from Meg Jones and it's a seven point game!


Tigers are back in the game!

Hard carries had allowed for incremental gains up the field, wirh the likes of Keia Mae Sagapolu Sanele crashing over the gainline.

Scrum half Amy Relf astutely picks and go's from right on the line to put the finishing touch to the move.


Conversion missed | Meg Jones

The Red Rose puts the kick just wide of the post, on the angle.


Tigers have been on top this half and the second line-out in as many minutes gets Tigers their first points of the day.

A lovely deep through by substitute hooker Elis Martin is collected well by Becky Noon. From there, Tigers get the maul rolling, splitting off well and allowing the USA international to go over for her first Tigers try.


A tough first half for the hosts sees Lightning score three tries in dreary weather conditions.

Half time score: Leicester Tigers 0 - 19 Loughborough Lightning


Helen Nelson adds the extras with an excellent kick.


Lightning score their third; having kicked to the corner from a penalty, Lightning set the rolling maul and Meuller drives over adding her second.


Fly half Helen Nelson adds the extras for the away side, taking them to a twelve point lead.


Hooker Maja Meuller adds Lightning's second of the game, short phases in the tight allowing the side to make incremental metres before the front-row barges over in front of the posts.


Lightning strike first with slick hands to the left, exploiting a Tigers overlap, wing Bo Westcombe-Evans with the score in the corner.



Captain Natasha Jones kicks us off and the first-ever Leicestershire derby between Tigers and Loughborough Lightning is underway!



Just 20 minutes to go until the first-ever derby between Leicester Tigers and Loughborough Lightning!

A Leicestershire derby under the lights, in pouring rain, we wouldn't have it any other way!

Grab a beer and get back to your seats, pop the kettle on and turn on TNT Sports or stick with us here on Matchday Live, it's almost time for rugby!

Team News | Tigers to face Lightning in inaugural derby

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Vicky Macqueen has named the matchday squad for Sunday's Allianz Premiership Women's Rugby derby game, against Loughborough Lightning.

As well as competing in an inaugural derby, the side will also compete in a first-ever Premiership double-header at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

Natasha Jones will captain the side, while one player is set to make their first start for the club.

The front-row sees two changes at props as Scotland prop Lisa Cockburn makes her first start after making her debut last week at Gloucester-Hartpury, while Ofure Ugiagbe returns to the side to start at tighthead.

The second-row sees another new partnership as Eva Donaldson moves forward having played blindside flanker last week, partnering with Catha Jacobs.

The back-row sees Becky Noon shift to blindside from the back of the scrum, while Tahlia Brody returns to the 23, the USA international starting at No.8.

In the backs, Lucy Nye is back starting at scrum-half, while the midfield trio is retained for the third game running.

The back-three sees two changes, with Tess Feury moved to the wing while Amanda Swartz returns at fullback.


15. Amanda Swartz [4]
14. Tess Feury [2]
13. Meg Jones [2]
12. Rebecca DeFilippo [5]
11. Francesca McGhie [2]
10. Natasha Jones (C) [22]
9. Lucy Nye [12]
1. Lisa Cockburn [1]
2. Alana Bainbridge [6]
3. Ofure Ugiagbe [23]
4.Eva Donaldson [2]
5. Catha Jacobs [1]
6. Becky Noon [21]
7. Morgan Richardson [22]
8. Tahlia Brody [1]


16. Elis Martin [2]
17. Leah Bartlett [2]
18. Keia Mae Sagapolu Sanele [2]
19. Maddie Massey [2]
20. Zoe Warrington [17]
21. Amy Relf [21]
22. Katie Childs [22]
23. Caz Collie [6]

posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
Loughborough Lightning
Loughborough LightningLOU11506261304-4343496127
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI11209197397-2003164418
Form Guide
Last Match
Lost to Ealing Trailfinders Women 14-29
Past Meeting
Won 22-17
Last Match
Past Meeting
Last Match
Beat Sale Sharks Women 38-15
Past Meeting
Lost 17-22

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Leicester Tigers12
Leicester Tigers
Loughborough Lightning24
Loughborough Lightning
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