Loughborough Lightning Director of Rugby, Rhys Edwards, believes a slow start cost his side during their opening-day 34-21 loss at Saracens in the Allianz Premier 15s.
A third-minute try from Lauren Bolger proved something of a false dawn at the StoneX Stadium for Loughborough, who were resting their sizeable international contingent following the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup.
By the early stages of the second half, they found themselves 24-7 down against the defending champions and faced the steepest of mountains to climb with an unfamiliar line-up.
It was one they almost scaled, however, as Bolger crossed the whitewash twice more to complete her hat-trick and reduce the deficit to three points, only for the home side to pull clear again in the closing stages.
Edwards said: “We started a little bit slow – we obviously scored a great try at the start of the first half, but the middle of the game got away from us because of poor discipline and poor game management.
“In the second half, in the last 20 minutes we pretty much turned the game around and put ourselves in a strong position.
“With a bonus-point on the cards, to concede late on and not get anything is obviously really disappointing.”
With players like Emily Scarratt, Sarah Hunter, Helena Rowland, Sadia Kabeya and Sara Svoboda not in action, it was a chance for several youngsters to stake their claims against one of the strongest teams in the division.
Despite his frustration with the result, Edwards was very pleased with how they performed, which should give him added strength in depth in the months ahead.
“We had a lot of new faces today, which is good,” he said. “They’ve come through the Allainz Cup programme and presented themselves really well, and they deserved the opportunity today.
“I thought there were stand-out performances from some people who made their debuts, which is a huge positive, and we go into next week with hopefully a bit of confidence in our ability and belief to finish the job.”Rhys Edwards, Director of Rugby at Loughborough Lightning
Loughborough will aim to bounce back against Harlequins on Sunday in what will be the first of at least five home games of theirs to be played at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens this season.
It could be another chance to impress for hat-trick hero Bolger, whose pace on the right wing proved almost impossible to live with for Saracens, on what was her league debut.
“I’m pretty overwhelmed, really,” Bolger said. “It’s an incredible atmosphere to be around, my first Premier XVs game, but all those tries were down to the girls and the effort they put in.
“I just finished it off. I’m gutted about the result, but there are lots of work-ons and we’re look forward to the rest of the season.”
- Tickets for Lightning’s five confirmed matches are on sale now, costing just £7 adult / £3 junior* per game.
- An all-new Lightning ticket bundle is also available, which covers Loughborough’s five confirmed matches in Northampton for just £28 adult / £12 junior* – saving supporters the cost of a whole match.
- Saints Season Ticket Holders can also enjoy discounted ticket and bundle prices for Loughborough’s matches. This can be accessed by signing into your Season Ticket account before purchasing.
- Please note, all seating for Lightning matches will be unreserved within the Carlsberg Stand (and, if necessary, the cinch Stand). So, if you are a Saints Season Ticket Holder, you will not necessarily be able to use your regular matchday seat.
* Ticket prices are subject to a £1.50 booking fee.