Leicester Tigers’ most experienced player shares in a piece of history this weekend when Mattioli Woods Welford Road hosts its first-ever Women’s Championship North fixture.
Second-rower Ali Gale has played for Saracens and Lichfield as well as gaining representative honours with Kent and England ‘A’ during more than 20 years in the game, but she opens a new chapter in her rugby career with a Tigers debut on Saturday.
“It feels good to be part of history with the squad,” says Gale who missed the opening-round win away to Bishop Auckland but starts in the forward pack for the team’s first home fixture against Cheltenham Tigers Ladies.
She adds: “I played in three ‘friendly’ games at Mattioli Woods Welford Road last season which was pretty special knowing that we were the first women to play there in Tigers teams.
“Now it’s great to have the opportunity to do that in league competition with this new squad.”
Gale is included in a team showing three changes to the line-up from Round 1, when Tigers scored nine tries in a 57-5 victory over Bishop Auckland. Becky Noon also comes into the forward pack, while Katie Childs returns at centre.
This week’s visitors Cheltenham opened the season with a 41-0 victory at Worcester Ladies after topping the Championship North 1 table last season with an unbeaten record.
Cheltenham now have a partnership with Gloucester Hartpury who play in the top-flight Premier 15s, while Tigers Academy graduate and Under-18 League winner Cameron Jordan is a forwards coach at the club, working alongside his Gloucester Rugby team-mate Henry Walker with the women’s team.
Kick-off at Mattioli Woods Welford Road is at 1.00pm on Saturday. See our Matchday Guide for full details.