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Lightning to send 16 stars to Rugby World Cup

An incredible 16 Loughborough Lightning players have been selected in the England, Scotland, Canada, USA and Wales squads ahead of the upcoming Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

The World Cup gets underway in Auckland next month on Saturday 8 October, with two more matches following in the Pool stages across the weekends of 15/16 and 22/23 October – and Lightning’s stars will feature across the tournament, representing the Club across five countries.

Ranked World No. 1 heading into the competition, England first tackle Fiji on opening day; and head coach Simon Middleton has named Loughborough back row Sarah Hunter as skipper of his Red Roses side for the tournament, with Lightning teammate Emily Scarratt acting as vice-captain.

Fellow Lightning stars Sadia Kabeya, Cath O'Donnell, Morwenna Talling and Helena Rowland are named in the 32-player squad that will also face France (Saturday 15 October, kick-off: 8am UK time) and South Africa (Sunday 23 October, kick-off: 5.45am UK time) in the Pool rounds.

Meanwhile, Scotland will head to the World Cup for the first time in 12 years – with Lightning’s Rachel Malcolm captaining the side in New Zealand as they face Wales (Sunday 9 October, kick-off: 5.45am UK time), Australia (Saturday 15 October, kick-off: 3am UK time) and hosts New Zealand (Saturday 22 October, kick-off: 4.45am UK time).

Helen Nelson vice-captains Scotland, with Loughborough’s Leah Bartlett, Christine Belisle, Emma Wassell and Megan Gaffney also named in the 32-player squad.

Elsewhere, Carys Williams has been named in the Wales’ squad for the tournament, with the home nation’s opposition including Scotland (Sunday 9 October, kick-off: 5.45am UK time), New Zealand (Sunday 16 October, kick-off: 3.15pm UK time) and Australia (Saturday 22 October, kick-off: 4.45am UK time) for the Pool stages.

Lightning will also have representation in the Canada and USA sides, with Courtney Holtkamp, Sara Svoboda (both Canada) and Hallie Taufoou (USA) selected for the competition.

Canada and USA are both in Pool B, with the sides facing off with Italy and Japan in Rounds 1 and 2 before facing each other in the final match of the pool stages on Sunday 23 October, kick-off: 3.15am UK time.

The tournament will then head into knock-out rounds before culminating in the Final on Saturday 12 November (kick-off: 6.30am UK time).

All England and Scotland matches will be broadcast live on ITV throughout the competition.

Loughborough Lightning players heading to 2021 Rugby World Cup

Sarah Hunter (England, captain)
Emily Scarratt (England, vice-captain)
Cath O’Donnell (England)
Sadia Kabeya (England)
Morwenna Talling (England)
Helena Rowland (England)

Rachel Malcolm (Scotland, captain)
Helen Nelson (Scotland, vice-captain)
Leah Bartlett (Scotland)
Christine Belisle (Scotland)
Emma Wassell (Scotland)
Megan Gaffney (Scotland)

Carys Williams (Wales)

Courtney Holtkamp (Canada)
Sara Svoboda (Canada)

Hallie Taufoou (USA)

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