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Scots trio more than play their part in LMRCV win

Scotland’s first three full-time Professional Women players started Saturday night’s Top 8 match for Lille Metropole Rugby Club Villeneuvois in their Top 8 match against AC Bobigny 93 in Lille, playing their part in the victory.

The match started well for the home side as they pressed the Bobigny defence and made several incursions into their opponents half, centre, Lisa Thomson, putting down an early mark with an incisive run up the centre of the pitch. The Bobigny pack showed early promise in the scrum, but soon began to be overpowered by the, more experienced, home side.

The first try came after around 10 minutes when an LMRCV attack was pulled up short in the left corner and the ball kicked clear by the defender. The loose clearance was collected on the edge of the 22 by centre, Gabrielle Vernier who found herself with a clear run in to the line for the opener. Full back, and Edinburgh-born, Chloe Rollie then knocked over the simple conversion for 7-0.

Straight from the restart, LMRCV were on the attack again, rapidly making ground, although No. 8, Jade Konkel just managed to avoid the referee’s wrath by keeping her tackled opponent below the horizontal.

A few minutes later LMRCV were on the attack again, this time Thomson making ground diagonally into the left corner before the ball was recycled back to No. 4, Vivi Griere, who crashed over next to the posts for the second try and 12-0. Once again, Rollie had an easy conversion and the score after 14 minutes was 14-0.

Their third try came after another period of sustained, team-wide pressure from the home side. Powerful running moved the ball into the left corner, with play being pulled up centimetres short by the defence. But LMRCV were playing under advantage and they went back to scrum in front of the posts. Using their now dominant pack, the won another penalty advantage, which the referee brought back when the ball was lost forward. Another successful scrum near the right touch line almost saw the ball over the line but yet another scrum penalty from Bobigny lead the referee to ‘have a word’ with the captain.

Word over, the ball was won again, but this time it was swung left, into the hands of the back division. 9 to 10, 10 to 13. Try! This time it was Lisa Thomson who scored, using her sheer power to power over next to the posts for the third try and 17-0. Again, Rollie converted, so 25 minutes in it was 21-0 and the home side seemed to be home and dry.

Barely two minutes later, it was 28-0. Wing, Cecile Blondiau, collected the ball out wide and proceeded to weave and fend her way through the, fairly ineffectual, defence to dot down behind the posts. She did have to survive a – very – late tackle and a brief scuffle, but, c’est la vie, the try was scored. Rollie knocked over her fourth conversion of the match for 28-0.

As the break loomed, LMRCV scored their fifth try of the match, once again exploiting enormous pressure and power to take them further clear at 33-0, Scotland’s Jade Konkel barrelling over for the score. Unfortunately, Rollie missed her conversion so the sides went in 33-0.

Once again, the manager’s team talk worked it’s magic and Bobigny were – it appeared – a different team to the one that took the field in the first half.

LMRCV were put under huge pressure from the off, finding great difficulty in making any sort of territorial gain and were pinned in their 22 for long periods. The odd ‘escape’ was snuffed out by the defensive effort put in by the visitors.

Midway through the first quarter, Bobigny scored their first points of the match with a well worked passing move across the pitch to put their wing, Madouss, over in the corner. The kick fell short, but it was 33-5 now.

Just over five minutes later, having fought off another home attack, Bobigny scored their second try through sub, Nassira, who cut through the defence to go over on the right. Once again though, their centre missed the kick so 33-10 it remained.

Following on from these, LRMCV, turned up the wick and the remainder of the match was very much like the first half.

A powerful run from Konkel dragged a few players in, allowing space on the right for flanker, Romane Menager, to race clear and dive in under the posts. Rollie then scored her fifth conversion of the match to put any doubt about a second half, Bobigny, revival with a 40-10 score line.

The visitors did manage to score a third, and converted, try on the stroke of full time – a second for Madouss – for a final score of 40-17 and a bonus point win.

Images from the match will appear here over the next few days.