Tigers sink their claws into Richmond in season opener
THE Tigers could not have asked for a better start to the season than claiming a major scalp and beating Richmond II.
And the ladies will make the trip south to take on Hove Ladies full of confidence.
Hove are familiar to the Tigers, and second row Sian Hobday said the Prince of Wales Stadium side have worked hard in training this week to combat the Hove gameplan.
Hobday said: "We need to combat their defensive structure as they play differently.
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"We have worked hard on tactics, and on our set-piece, especially scrums as last week was our first week scrummaging under the new laws.
"We want our scrum to dominante that area and we know Hove have got a big pack."
CHELTENHAM TIGERS LADIES 24 RICHMOND II 6
CHELTENHAM have laid down the marker for this season and are aiming for a top three finish in Championship South One.
And they kick-started that campaign the right way, putting in an impressive performance in both attack and defence.
The home side kept their impressive defensive record going from last season, keeping Richmond at bay and forcing them to score points through the boot.
It was Richmond who opened the scoring account with fly half Jayne Goodliffe kicking three points after Cheltenham were too keen to compete for the ball at the breakdown.
Another early penalty handed Richmond possession and they attacked relentlessly for 20 minutes but were unable to break through the Tigers defence.
Soon Cheltenham began to settle and get into their stride.
Turnover ball from the line-out allowed the backs to attack space and centre Meg Youdan darted her way through to score under the posts.
The conversion from scrum half Lisa Mansell was good, bringing the score to 7-3.
Another infringement, right in front of the posts from the home side for holding on allowed Goodliffe to make the score 7-6.
The Tigers backs executed attacking phases allowing Youdan to run a great line to break through the defence to go one on one with the fullback.
The tackle was made but support came from fly half Bee Mocellin who caught a superb offload and dived over the line to score.
The intensity of the forwards from both sides did not ease off in the second half but Cheltenham came out on top, reacting quickly to rucks and disrupting Richmond's lineouts.
Some quick hands from both forwards and backs put winger Bea Burak over the line in the corner.
Mansell had her kicking boots on and kicked the tough conversion from the sideline.
Strong running from the Richmond back row was soaked up by the hosts solid defence who were now playing with flare and confidence.
The Tiger pack showed their true dominance at scrum time when they earned a scrum five metres from Richmond's try line and scored a push-over try.
In the dying stages of the game, Cheltenham were forced to play with 14 players as Mansell suffered a dislocated shoulder.
But even with the player advantage, Richmond were unable to score any points in the second half.
Playmaker Mansell continues to be sidelined with her shoulder and will not travel to take on Hove.