REPORT | Warriors Women 7-24 Bristol Bears

Warriors Women tasted defeat at home to Bristol Bears in their final hit-out of pre-season as they gear-up for the 2021/22 Allianz Premier 15s season.

There were seven debutants on show for Jo Yapp’s side, who welcomed a crowd back to Sixways for the first time since December 2020 when they hosted Harlequins.

USA international Alycia Washington underlined her power with ball in hand on a series of occasions, while Japan fly-half Minori Yamamoto was a calm head at the heart of Warriors’ backline.

It took until the 35th minute for the breakthrough try, Sioned Harries powering her way to the line from the base of a five-metre scrum to give Warriors a 7-0 lead after Vicky Foxwell’s successful conversion.

High-octane rugby was the order of the day up until the opening try, with both sides defending robustly to thwart try-scoring opportunities.

Bears went close to breaching Warriors’ line as early as the sixth minute when scrum-half Keira Bevan took a quick-tap penalty to dash into the opposition 22 only for the hosts to win a crucial penalty at the breakdown.

Yamamoto was then called into action on 10 minutes, her textbook tackle as the last line of defence preventing a certain score.

Five minutes later, it was the turn of Warriors to threaten Bears’ rearguard, with England wing Lydia Thompson going within a whisker of touching down in the corner. A scrambling Bears defence saw to Warriors’ nearside attack, however they were unable to stop Harries scoring in the minutes that immediately followed.

Bristol restored parity four minutes from the break as Grace Crompton raced half the length of the field to cross under the posts for a converted score.

On the stroke of half-time, Bevan put the West Country club ahead – this time her quick-tap penalty came to fruition as she caught Warriors knapping in defence to dot down. Elinor Snowsill’s conversion gave Bristol the lead at 14-7 going into the break.

With their tails up, Bristol came out of the blocks in emphatic fashion in the second period with Hannah West crashing over to extend her side’s lead to 19-7. Bristol continued to frustrate Warriors as they disrupted things at the breakdown to stop the home side from garnering any sort of momentum.

As Warriors pressed for their second try of the afternoon, there was always the danger that Bristol might add to their tally for the day, and ten minutes from time Lilly Stoeger did just that. With numbers on the near side, the Bristol wing snapped up a looping pass to waltz in at the corner and end the game 24-7 in favour of Bears.

Warriors | 15 Cat McNaney, 14 Lydia Thompson, 13 Vicky Foxwell, 12 Meg Varley, 11 Evie England, 10 Minori Yamamoto, 9 Caity Mattinson (c), 1 Akina Gondwe, 2 Carys Phillips, 3 Flo Long, 4 Amelia Buckland Hurry, 5 Alycia Washington, 6 Jo Brown, 7 Taz Bricknell, 8 Sioned Harries

Replacements | 16 Tremelling, 17 Smitheman, 18 Evans, 19 Campbell, 20 Wright Haley, 21 Lewis, 22 Kershaw, 23 Cox, 24 Hardy, 25 Shermer, 26 Moss


35m | Harries try 5-0

35m | Foxwell con 7-0

37m | Crompton try 7-5

38m | Snowsill con 7-7

40m | Bevan try 7-12

40m | Snowsill con 7-14

41m | West try 7-19

69m | Stoeger try 7-24