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Davey relishing playing in front of ‘booming’ Gardens crowd

Scrum-half Megan Davey is hoping Loughborough Lightning can put on a show in their final match of the season at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens this weekend.

Lightning welcome Bristol Bears on Saturday, looking to back up their victory over Sale Sharks on their previous visit to the Gardens, with the match being their fourth of the campaign at the venue.

It has allowed Rhys Edwards’ side to become more accustomed to the facilities at the home of Northampton Saints after playing their first two games there last season.

Loughborough will be keen to bounce back from their 45-5 loss at league leaders Exeter Chiefs last weekend when they come up against Bristol, who are fifth in the Allianz Premier 15s and narrowly defeated them 31-26 in December’s reverse fixture.

Davey said: “It would be lovely to finish on a high and be able to get another win at the Gardens.

“The atmosphere is electric in there and it just feels amazing because you look around and there is always a bigger crowd, you can go and say ‘hello’ to everyone and you just feel like you’ve done the Lightning fans proud.

“It definitely would be really nice to round it off with a win. The stadium is absolutely phenomenal – the grass is so well kept and with it being a stadium you can just generate more of an audience.

“When we played Sale in the double-header, the crowd was booming at times and that’s something you couldn’t replicate at Lightning because we didn’t have stands.

“It really improves the team morale and makes you want to go out and put up a really big fight because you are at Franklin’s Gardens.”

Megan Davey

It has been a fragmented season for 22-year-old Davey which has included mixed fortunes at the Gardens.

It was there that the former England Under-20 international suffered an injury against Harlequins in late November that kept her out until the morale-boosting 17-10 win against Sale two weeks ago.

She is now hoping to use the upcoming break in the season for the Women’s Six Nations to get herself fully back up to speed.

“I got injured in the second match [of the season] against Quins, so I had a lot of time on the sidelines, but I always try to keep myself around the girls and try and get myself around training,” Davey said.

“It’s hard to sit out and watch all the time, but when you come back you just reignite that love for rugby and I’ve been really happy to get stuck back in these last few games.

“Even though it’s been a slow start for me, I’ve really enjoyed the season despite it not going how I wanted it to.

“In a way, the break in the season may be a blessing in disguise because it will allow me to really get back into my fitness and get as fit as I can for when all the internationals come back.”

Two such internationals at Lightning – Emily Scarratt and Helena Rowland – were unfortunately sidelined at the same time as Davey and have yet to make their return to the fold.

Rowland suffered a foot injury in England’s World Cup semi-final against Canada in November, while the hugely influential Scarratt hasn’t featured since January’s victory against Wasps, another of Loughborough’s matches at the Gardens this season.

Davey said: “It would be a lie to say we haven’t struggled without them. Those two players are just absolutely phenomenal.

“Their running abilities, their attacking abilities to put the ball where we need it, I definitely think we’ve missed that as a team, although it’s allowed other players to step up and show what they’re capable of.

“Without a doubt they are players you really want in the team, so it has been tough, even though they’re always around for training and stuff.”

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