Davis admits “a few heads dropped” during Derby’s rugby defeat at Varsity 2024

Derby Women's Rugby player Sophie Davis

By Samuel Moore

Derby Women’s rugby player Sophie Davis believes that the league champions’ heads “began to drop late into the second half” as they lost to 32-52 to Hertfordshire Women’s at Kedleston Road.

The game was a relatively close affair in the first hour, with only two tries separating the two teams.

However, a late onslaught led by a standout seven-try Lydia Edwards performance sealed the result for good in Hertfordshire’s favour.

Davis said: “Towards the second half, a few heads dropped, and I think we just lacked on the wings.”

On four occasions Derby conceded within fewer than five minutes after scoring a try of their own, not allowing them to ever get a proper foothold back into the game after going down early to two tries.

Davis said to take advantage of being so close to catching the opposition in future, they must “be safer with our passes, as a few times we were doing one-handed offloads, so the ball just went flying”.

Despite this Davis believes that “the score doesn’t reflect how hard we tried”.

Ava Playle dislocated her shoulder in the first half but  the team worked hard to show injured teammate that “it wasn’t just an injury for nothing”.

She also insisted that there were positives to take from the game. “We did work well as a team and I think they only had one good player [Edwards] who next time we need to put a bit more of support on,” Davis said.

“I feel like we were the better team within speaking and communicating with each other.”

Derby will now look ahead to next season with a loss on the record, but plenty of both negatives and positives to ponder on, as they aim to win their second league title in a row.