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Loughborough Lightning: Rugby World Cup Round-Up

Northampton Saints’ women’s team, Loughborough Lightning, have 16 players representing their countries at the ongoing Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. 

Here, we look at how Lightning’s internationals fared during the third round of pool fixtures, where places in the quarter-finals were decided… 

Sadia stars again in England rout 

Four Loughborough players were in England’s matchday squad as the Red Roses finished the pool stage with a 100 per cent record after thrashing South Africa 75-0 at Auckland’s Waitakere Stadium. 

Back rower Morwenna Talling was given her first run-out of the tournament in a much-changed line-up that also featured Cath O’Donnell, who received her first start in the second row. 

Sadia Kabeya and Helena Rowland were both brought off the bench in the second half and it was the former, England’s player of the match in their opener against Fiji, who caught the eye in particular by scoring two of her team’s 13 tries. 

The Red Roses’ unstoppable rolling maul had already ensured victory, but 20-year-old Kabeya brought on yet more power with her arrival, even if her first score was a simple finish from Lucy Packer’s pass. 

Kabeya then rounded off the scoring with two minutes left by barging her way over under the posts, giving Rowland an easy conversion to get herself on the scoresheet. 

Emily Scarratt was left out of the game due to a slight head knock, while captain Sarah Hunter was rested ahead of her becoming her country’s most-capped player in the knockout phase. 

England are set to face Australia in the quarter finals on Sunday and they now have a seventh Lightning player in their squad after prop Detysha Harper was called up to replace the injured Laura Keates. 

North American contingent to meet again in last eight 

Loughborough’s Courtney Holtkamp and Sara Svoboda both started for Canada as they finished top of Pool B with a 29-14 victory over old rivals USA, for whom their clubmate Hallie Taufoou was not involved. 

While Holtkamp was brought off at half-time in Auckland, Svoboda played the full 80 minutes and was part of a dominant performance from the Canadians that saw them outscore their opponents by five tries to two. 

The way the quarter-final draw has worked out means Canada and USA will come up against each other for the second week running on Sunday, with the former on a roll with three wins out of three. 

Lightning Scots heading home 

Five Loughborough players were involved as Scotland bowed out of the World Cup after being soundly beaten 57-0 by hosts New Zealand at the Northland Events Centre in Whangarei. 

Rachel Malcom captained the Scots once again and she was joined in the starting line-up by Christine Belisle, Emma Wassell and Helen Nelson – with Leah Bartlett coming off the bench after 62 minutes and Megan Gaffney not selected. 

While Scotland came agonisingly close to picking up results against Wales and Australia in their first two games, they found the Black Ferns too strong as they shipped nine tries to finish the tournament without a win. 

Wales, however, squeezed their way into the quarter-finals despite a narrow 13-7 loss against Australia, for which Lightning’s Carys Williams-Morris was unfortunately not involved. 

Iliseva Batibasaga’s early try for Australia was cancelled out by Sioned Harries’ score in the 23ed minute, but two penalties by Lori Cramer earned the Wallaroos their tie against England. 

Wales face the daunting task of playing New Zealand, who defeated them 56-12 during the pool stage, in the last eight.

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