Match report: Sale Sharks Women 3 - 54 Exeter Chiefs Women


Caroline Moore at the CorpAcq Stadium Heywood Road

Exeter Chiefs Women came up against a Sale side depleted by injury since the last time they made the journey up to the CorpAcq Stadium Heywood Road.

Despite needing to field a plethora of England qualified players, Chiefs looked liked the stronger side from the get-go, especially at scrum time with Hope Rogers, Emily Tuttosi and Lizzie Hanlon proving tough opposition in the front row with the rest of the pack lending their weight to the cause.

But it was a lineout that produced the first points of the day when an unstoppable drive saw Tuttosi over for try number one. Lori Cramer, back in the starting line-up at full-back, stepped up to take the conversion after just three minutes gone.

Sale got their scoreboard ticking over six minutes later when Chiefs were pinged for offside. Fly-half Minori Yamamoto took the three points.

Then the scrum battle began with Chiefs winning one of Sale’s. It was not one-way traffic though, with Chiefs penalised for crossing thus gifting possession back to the home side. Chiefs managed to scrabble that ball back and winger Katie Buchanan scored in the 17th minute following a midfield break from centre Gabby Cantorna.

The first Chiefs scrum came at the end of the first quarter…and it was steady as a rock resulting in a penalty to the visitors. Alex Tessier kicked the ball to touch and the ensuing lineout was safely gathered by locally raised lock Harriet Millar-Mills. The backs took it through the hands with winger Claudia MacDonald almost through. The forwards get involved, obviously, sending flanker Ebony Jefferies over.

The rest of the half saw Sale make attempts to get back into Chiefs’ 22 but to no avail. Chiefs had more chances, with a Sale kick charged down by Millar-Mills and a high ball caught by Buchanan for a near dream kick and collect, but the ball drifted into touch. The first half ended 3-21.

The second half started brightly for Chiefs as Millar-Mills barged through for a try. Just running hard in territory. Simple, but no less beautiful!

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Harriet Millar-Mills scores first try in second half

Meanwhile, Sale’s forwards were beginning to flag, and they brought on a whole new front row. Chiefs forwards, on the other hand, were still being menaces. First, they stole Sale’s lineout, then Maisy Allen collected a Tessier chip ahead to storm into Sale’s 22. Cantorna and Rogers took it on, before it looked like centre Merryn Doidge would go for the line but passed to Buchanan for her second try.

Next up, was Rogers... we know she likes to score! This time it was from close quarters from a penalty.

Sale’s woes were compounded with a knock-on in the 70th minute. The scrum to Chiefs resulted in another penalty that was kicked to touch for the lineout. Poppy Leitch rose up to take this one and to lead the drive… and get Taz Bricknell over the line.

The coaching staff emptied the bench to give lock Kate Smith, prop Hannah Sams and flanker Felicity Powdrell their league debuts, but there was still time for more action with Danielle Preece turning on the pace to offload to Bricknell for her second. Job done. Five league points in the bag.

Sale Sharks Women: L Perrin; R Woosey (R Delaney 70mins), E Ramsbottom, K Howard, H Bawden; M Yamamoto (B Rigoni 46mins), M Grieve (J Roberts 46mins); A Young (C Benson 50mins), N Swailes (M Kelly 50mins), N James (D Harper 50mins), E Jarrell, I Antwis (J Brown 65mins), K Searcy, G Perris-Reading (c) (N Moore 65mins), J Hazell

Pen: Yamamoto

Yellow card: Roberts (60mins)

Exeter Chiefs Women: L Cramer; C MacDonald, M Doidge (vc) (D Preece 63mins), G Cantorna (S Langford 71mins), K Buchanan; A Tessier, B Bradley; H Rogers (A Middlebrooke 60mins), E Tuttosi (D French 71mins), L Hanlon (H Sams 71mins), H Millar-Mills (K Smith 71mins), P Leitch, E Jefferies (T Bricknell 60mins), M Allen (F Powdrell 67mins), R Johnson

Tries: Tuttosi, Buchanan (2), Jefferies, Mills, Rogers, Bricknell (2)

Cons: Cramer (7)

Referee: Nikki O’Donnell

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