Match report: Tigers Women 7 Chiefs Women 61
Leicester Tigers Women 7
Exeter Chiefs Women 61
Caroline Moore at Mattioli Woods Welford Road
Exeter Chiefs Women secured their semi-final place in the 2023/24 Allianz Cup with a convincing 11-try 7-61 win over Leicester Tigers Women.
Despite facing new opposition at a stadium they had never played at before, they soon made themselves at home with an opening try in the fifth minute from back-row Ebony Jefferies after a Chiefs scrum gave them the platform they needed. Fly-half Ellie Cunningham stepped up to take the conversion and Chiefs were 0-7 ahead.
Chiefs wasted no time getting their second try either. Just three minutes later and debutant Maddie Feaunati showed her pace and strength from the back of a lineout before winger Eilidh Sinclair popped up on the end of some sweet passes across the backline to take the five points.
Tjgers though were not about to be pushed around on home turf and Chiefs had to weather some serious attacking play but succeeded in keeping the women in green at bay for the most part. The Tigers had their first try attempt held up and then they were penalised for holding on for the second.
They would not be denied a third time, however, and winger Amelia Tutt found herself on the overlap for a popular home score that was converted by Natasha Jones.
Chiefs answered that score straight from the kick-off though with centre Danielle Preece speeding over the line following a move that involved a neat run from debutant wing Harriette Bond.
The visitors would score their fourth before half-time with Jefferies helping herself to her second try from close quarters after Tigers gave away a penalty from the scrum right on their try line.
Half-time: Leicester Tigers Women 7 Exeter Chiefs Women 22
There was to be no let up in the third quarter as seen against Sale Sharks last weekend. Chiefs kept up the momentum from the first half and barely seemed to leave Tigers territory. Scrum-half Brooke Bradley scored two tries in two minutes in the first five of the second half backing herself from a quick-tap penalty for the first and benefiting from a searching run from Cunningham for the second.
Replacements began to come on at the 50th minute mark with Harriet Millar-Mills taking over at No 8 and Felicity Powdrell at flanker. In fact, Chiefs quickly emptied the bench to give every player a chance of game-time.
Tries began to come in a regular rhythm as Chiefs started to dominate in the set-piece and claiming the lion’s share of possession.
Full-back Katie Buchanan’s try was followed over the line for two for Powdrell. For the second, a penalty kicked to touch for the lineout led to a determined driving maul led by Nichola Fryday that saw the Kiwi over to take Chiefs beyond 50 points.
Chiefs were not done though, and lock Linde van der Velden closed a busy afternoon with a try following a scrum on the five-metre line. The last one came from Abby Middlebrooke for a final scoreline of 7-61.
A good day away and a semi-final spot to boot.
Exeter Chiefs Women: K Buchanan; E Sinclair, D Preece, S Langford, H Bond; E Cunningham, B Bradley (vc); P Muzambe, C Moloney, L Hanlon, N Fryday, L van der Velden, E Jefferies, P Leitch (c), M Feaunati.
Reps: A Middlebrooke, D French, H Sams, H Millar-Mills, F Powdrell, O Ortiz, N Brennan, S Harris.
Tries: Jefferies (2), Sinclair, Preece, Bradley (2), Buchanan, Powdrell (2), van der Velden, Middlebrooke
Cons: Cunningham (3)
Leicester Tigers Women: A Swatrz; C Collie, K Childs, R DeFilippo, A Tutt; N Jones (c), A Relf, J Shakespeare, A Bainbridge, O Ugiabge, K Turner, A Orrow, M Richardson, R McBrien (vc), R Noon.
Reps: T Bird, R Church, G Grimes, Z Warrington, S Mead, P Roberts, K Thicker, Z Evans
Referee: Nikki O’Donnell