England Premiership Women’s Rugby – Round 9

Claire Gallagher Scores Try for Leicester Tigers on Starting Debut

The Canadian highlight in Round 9 of the England Women’s Premiership was Claire Gallagher’s try in her starting debut for Leicester Tigers. Claire usually plays #10 for Canada but was slotted in at #12 for Leicester. She came into the Leicester side last weekend and had a spot in the reserves. Her try was voted the league Try of the Week. This is the first win for the Leicester side in nine matches.

Round 9 Summary from Premier15s.com

Gloucester-Hartpury trail leaders Saracens by just a point after edging a top-of-the-table thriller.

Kelsey Jones crossed on three occasions and was then sent off in an entertaining affair which saw Saracens miss out on a losing bonus-point with the last kick of the game.

Elsewhere, Bristol Bears beat Harlequins and Loughborough Lightning turned over Trailfinders in a 10-try thriller.

Bristol Bears 26-7 Harlequins (Shaftesbury Park)

Bristol Bears consolidated their top four place with a 26-7 victory over Harlequins.

Deborah Wills crossed after 12 minutes to open the scoring for the hosts before Amber Reed bundled over for a second.

Quins had the chance to cut the deficit on the stroke of half time but were denied by a brilliant Bears defensive set which preserved their 12-0 lead.

But Bears regained momentum after the interval and Delaney Burns crashed over 10 minutes into the second half to put daylight between the sides.

There was a glimmer of hope for Quins when Hannah Sims stretched over 20 minutes from time to make it 19-7 but that was to be their only score.

Hannah Botterman had the final say, powering her way over from close range before Reed converted from in front of the sticks to make it two from two for Bears in 2024.

Bristol Bears – 26

Tries: Wills, Reed, Burns, Botterman

Harlequins – 7

Tries: Sims

Loughborough Lightning 45-21 Trailfinders (Loughborough University)

Loughborough Lightning kept pace with the top four after a thrilling 45-21 victory over Trailfinders Women.

A quick double strike put the hosts in control as Helen Nelson and Sadia Kabeya rumbled over for a 12-0 lead after 12 minutes.

Carys Cox coasted home for Trailfinders’ first score before Kabeya crossed for a second time to make it 19-7 at the midway point of the half.

Catherine O’Donnell and Bulou Mataitoga then crossed as Lightning brought up the bonus point before the break, but they weren’t completely out of sight after Vicky Laflin’s try on the stroke of half time.

Sarah Seye touched down for Trailfinders’ third as the lead diminished to just 12 points but late scores from Helena Rowland and Chloe Rollie ensured Lightning won for the first time at home this season.

Loughborough Lightning – 45

Nelson, Kabeya (2), O’Donnell, Mataitoga, Rowland, Rollie

Trailfinders – 21

Cox, Laflin, Seye

Gloucester-Hartpury 24-15 Saracens (Kingsholm)

Gloucester-Hartpury extended their unbeaten run while ending Saracens’ winning start in a seismic clash between the top two.

The hosts came flying out the blocks and nearly led inside three minutes only for Emma Sing to knock as she searched for the line.

They didn’t have to wait long for a way through however, as Kelsey Jones dotted down from the back of a powerful driving maul.

Sydney Gregson nearly levelled but Gloucester-Hartpury held firm until Sisilia Tuipulotu was shown a yellow card for a desperate intervention on her own line.

Finally Sarries struck through May Campbell but Amelia MacDougall failed to nudge Sarries ahead.

Lotte Clapp was then denied from close range but the Cherry & Whites had their tails up as the break approached and were helped when Poppy Cleall was sin-binned for dragging down a maul.

Jones scored to make it 10-5 with just seconds of the first half remaining, bustling over from another unstoppable drive.

The hooker then crossed to complete her hat-trick at the start of the second half but she was sent off for a head-on-head tackle with 18 minutes to play.

Sing sensationally broke clear and converted her own try to cancel out Bryony Field’s score for Saracens which meant that Coreen Grant’s late score was nothing more than a consolation.

Gloucester-Hartpury – 24

Tries: Jones (3), Sing

Saracens – 15

Tries: Campbell, Field, Grant

Sale Sharks 19-22 Leciester Tigers (Chester RFC)

Leicester Tigers came from behind to clinch a dramatic last moment 22-19 victory over Sale Sharks at the Chester RFC.

The visitors, who were seeking their first league victory of the season, opened the scoring on 12 minutes as Claire Gallagher crossed the whitewash on her first start for the club, Meg Jones adding the extras.

Trying to gain momentum back, Sale equalled the score less than 10 minutes later with a driving maul that forced its way over the line.

Making the most of their line out on the Tigers 5, it was Molly Kelly who took control and charged over for the points to get her team on the scoresheet before Hollie Bawden made the difference just seconds from the end of the half, fed the ball on the far side for a try on her 50th cap.

The lead didn’t last long after some brilliant hands by Tigers saw the ball passed wide, giving Tess Feury the opportunity to dot down in the corner to level the score once again.

A try from Catherine Benson on the 50th minute saw the forward dive over the bodies from a driving maul before Tigers grabbed a score of their own through Jones.

Trailing by just two points, it seemed like a missed conversion would be the ultimate fall down for Tigers until Leah Bartlett’s late surge catapulted her team into the lead for the first time since the first quarter.

Following a succession of tight phases, the prop smashed over the whitewash in the 77th minute to hand Tigers their first victory of the season at the last moment.

Sale Sharks – 19

Tries: Kelly, Bawden, Benson

Leicester Tigers – 22

Tries: Gallagher, Feury, Jones, Bartlett

Posted in Front Page, Women's Premier - England.