Wasps Ladies increased the pressure on the Premier 15s’ top two with another win at the weekend, complete with a pair of Army Senior Women in their match day squad.
Capt Gemma Rowland (Royal Artillery) and SSgt Sarah Mitchelson (RLC) were in the group which headed to Heywood Road to play Sale Sharks on Saturday afternoon. Wasps had a straightforward afternoon, scoring two early tries to take a lead which they would not relinquish.
A third try came just before the break and the fourth soon after, and despite Sale having the final say it was Wasps who headed home with the points, 30-8 the final result.
Wasps host Gloucester-Hartpury at Twyford Avenue next weekend.
In the men’s game there was Army representation at both Ashton Gate and the Recreation Ground.
Pte Ratu ‘Siva’ Naulago (Yorks) became the Army’s latest Premiership-level player when he came off the bench in the second half of Bristol’s European Rugby Champions Cup opener.
The opposition could not have come much tougher for the Bears’ first match at this level since 2008, Clermont Auvergne bringing a star-studded team to Ashton Gate.
The French outfit took an early 14-0 lead, and while they would go on to score seven tries overall Bristol contributed fully to what was an entertaining game full of action. The Bears crossed five times themselves and emerged with plenty of credit despite the 38-51 loss.
Bristol head west in Round 2 to the Sportsground in Galway to take on Pro14 high flyers Connacht.
A couple of hours later and just a few miles away, LCpl Semesa Rokoduguni (Scots DG) was an unused replacement for Bath in their Champions Cup Anglo-Welsh clash against the Scarlets.
The teams exchanged tries, scoring two each, and when Leigh Halfpenny kicked a 75th-minute penalty for the visitors Bath needed a try to win the contest. They thought they had done exactly that in the final second, too, only for scrum-half Ben Spencer to be tackled just short of the try line while stretching out for what would have been the clinching score.
So Scarlets held on to prevail 23-19 and Bath head to La Rochelle next week needing a win to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout stages.
Words © Chris Wearmouth, Images © Neil Kennedy