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Capt Gemma Rowland (RA) made her long-awaited return to action this weekend, but there was no winning start to the Welsh international’s 2021/22 as her Wasps team went down to a Bristol Bears outfit which has been setting the pace in domestic women’s rugby this season.

Wasps had also named Cpl Louise Dodd (QARANC) on the bench for the trip west to open the Allianz Cup campaign, but with eight players away on international duty the Londoners gave four players their club debut and found the 80 minutes as challenging as they would have expected.

Bristol opened the scoring in the 15th minute and set the pace from there, scoring two more unanswered tries to lead 19-0 at half-time. Bristol put the contest to bed in the third quarter, extending their advantage to 33-0, before Wasps scored two late consolation tries for a final result of 33-10.

There was also disappointment for LCpl Semesa Rokoduguni (Scots DG) on Friday night, the winger forced out of the action at Welford Road due to an injury sustained at the end of the first quarter.

Bath were in the contest for long periods at the home of the current Premiership leaders and were well in the hunt as the hour approached, trailing by just three points. But they were unable to make the Tigers crack in the final quarter, and instead it was the high flyers who sealed the win with two more tries to win 40-23.

The Premiership takes a short break for the Premiership Rugby Cup during the remainder of the Autumn Internationals period.

Words © New Dogs, Old Tricks, Header and Featured Image © Alligin Photography, Neil Kennedy