Match report: Gloucester-Hartpury 31-24 Exeter Chiefs Women


Caroline Moore at Kingsholm

Exeter Chiefs Women came away with two bonus points following a hard-fought game at Kingsholm where the lead changed sides several times but, ultimately, it was the home side that collected the spoils.

Chiefs gave themselves an immediate challenge when fly-half Alex Tessier was shown a yellow card for tackling a player off the ball in the third minute. This time, Gloucester-Hartpury were unable to capitalise, but they made up for it - twice - before Tessier had the opportunity to get back on the pitch.

Try number one came when a Chiefs lineout went awry to gift Glos back possession. A grubber kick was picked up by full-back Emma Sing, who sped over the line. Try number two came after a re-start following an injury to lock Gwen Crabb. Pip Hendy got her hands on the ball and scooted down the wing for the score. Neither try was converted so the score was 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.

It was a penalty that gave Chiefs their way back into the game. Tessier kicked the ball to touch for hooker Emily Tuttosi to throw to flanker Ebony Jefferies at the lineout. The resulting driving maul saw Tuttosi over for the try. Gabby Cantorna kicked the conversion, and the visitors were just three points behind.

Their second try also came care of another penalty. Same sequence of events, but a difference scorer. This time prop Hope Rogers got on the scoreboard and Chiefs were ahead after 25 minutes gone.

A sticky moment under a high ball put pressure on Chiefs in their own 22 and it seemed they were given a let-off when they won a lineout. However, the throw went over the long arms of Linde van der Velden and Gloucester began to apply the pressure, resulting in a penalty. The ensuing Glos lineout was good, as was the maul, allowing flanker Georgia Brock to go over for try number three, which was converted by Sing to set up a half-time score of 17-12.

As the second half began, Katie Buchanan scooped up an interception ball and found some space. Glos were impatient and leaked a penalty to Chiefs. Tessier kicked to touch. The lineout was good and the driving maul was even better! Tuttosi scored her second; converted by Cantorna to regain the lead at 17-19.

Eilidh Sinclair scores Chiefs' fourth try

The joy was short lived, however, as van der Velden was shown a yellow card for a high collision. The Cherries & Whites opted to kick to touch for the lineout. Despite multiple tackles from Chiefs, Glos kept recycling the ball for captain Natasha Hunt to dive over.

Chiefs seemed to make life hard for themselves for the rest of the half with knock-ons and penalties thwarting any real progress. They did manage to hold up a Glos try in the 59th minute but could not prevent Brock from getting her second after sustained home side pressure.

BUT there was time for a crucial score from the visitors as another a penalty and a final lineout saw winger Eilidh Sinclair scamper over to seal precious four-try and losing bonus points. Final score 31-24.

Gloucester-Hartpury: E Sing (E Goulden 76); N Metcalfe, H Jones, M Hyett, P Hendy; L George, N Hunt (c) (C Mattinson 70); E Perry (L Delgado 63), K Jones (S McCarthy 74), M Muir (S Tuipulotu 51), S Beckett, G Crabb (K Williams 12), G Brock, B Lewis, A Matthews (N Jones 44)

Tries: Sing, Hendy, Brock (2), Hunt

Cons: Sing (3)

Exeter Chiefs Women: M Doidge (vc); E Sinclair, K Kobayashi (Wilkins 62), G Cantorna, K Buchanan; A Tessier, B Bradley (O Ortiz 56); H Rogers, E Tuttosi (C Moloney 52), D Menin (L Hanlon 62), L van de Velden (H Millar-Mills 65), P Leitch (c), E Jefferies (N Fryday 52), M Allen (T Bricknell 62), R Johnson

Tries: Tuttosi (2), Rogers, Sinclair

Cons: Cantorna (2)

Yellow card: Tessier, van der Velden

Referee: Tom Foley

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