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Rugby News

Preview | Tigers look to cage the rampant running of Bears

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Leicester Tigers will face one of their toughest challenges of the season this weekend, as they travel to high-flying Bristol Bears.

The South West side have already confirmed their place in the Allianz Premiership Women's Rugby play-offs and have been enjoying a prolific season.

Just like last weekend's hosts, Harlequins, the Bears have an entrenched commitment to running rugby.

They have made more carries (152), metres (1070) and line breaks (9.8) per game than any other team in this season’s Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby, while their numbers for offloads (11.8) and passes (221.7) also ranked first amongst all sides. They also kick the least of any team (10.1), underlining their commitment to running rugby.

The side are clearly playing to their strengths, the Bears have the league’s highest dominant carry rate this term (53%) and have averaged more defenders beaten per game than any other side (33.2). They have powerful operators around the park and searing pace on the wings.

Interestingly, this style doesn't come without potential pitfalls; Bristol also sit top of the league for turnovers conceded per 80 minutes (17.4), a statistic perhaps indicative of the high risk, high reward strategy their style of rugby presents.

Additionally, they are also bottom for dominant tackles (just 3 per game on average), sitting in stark contrast to Tigers. Leicester have averaged the most dominant tackles per game in this season’s Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby (11.6), with 8% of their successful tackles being dominant, also a league high.

In a showdown of the league's dominant carriers versus the league's dominant tacklers, it may be a case of the unstoppable force against the immovable object in the contact zone and fans can look forward to some titanic collisions in midfield.

A showdown between the dueling no. 8's, Becky Noon and Row Marston-Mulhearn, stands out as particurlaly exciting.

Tigers' Noon, who was recently awarded Coaches Player of the Season at this week's Awards Evening, is sixth in the Allianz PWR for tackles made, with a mighty 168 so far this season (17.5 per game).

Meanwhile, Marston-Mulhearn sits top of the division for both carries made (168) and offloads (17), showing just how critical she is to the Bears' attack. Neutralising her will be critical to success for Tigers.

With just three games remaining in a maiden Allianz PWR season, Tigers will look to keep building connections as a team and gathering what momentum they can ahead of the final home game of the season next weekend, Saturday May 25, against Sale Sharks women as they hunt a first-ever Premiership home win.

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.