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Hardy and Hibbert-Jones re-sign with Lightning

Loughborough Lightning are pleased to confirm the re-signing of Emma Hardy and Daisy Hibbert-Jones.

The talented duo of young English players and former Under-20 internationals were an integral part of Loughborough’s squad last season, which each playing in 15 Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby games.

The retention of both players further strengthens the Club’s partnership with Northampton Saints, with both players balancing their rugby playing commitments with roles within Saints’ Community department at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

Hardy works as the Lightning/Saints Women’s Pathway and Development Manager, leading on the delivery of the Lightning Centre of Excellence programme while also growing the women’s and girls’ game in the wider community.

The 23-year-old centre has been at Lightning from a young age and has established herself as a regular on the team sheet, boasting 68 appearances – making her the second-most capped player in the current Loughborough squad.

“I am very happy to be staying at Lightning for what will be my sixth Premiership season, especially due to our partnership with Northampton Saints,” said Hardy.

“Playing at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens is always a fantastic experience for the players, and watching our supporter base continue to grow is really exciting, so I am looking forward to what lies ahead for us.”

Emma Hardy

Hibbert-Jones’ role as a Community Rugby Coach at Saints sees her coaching the next generation of young rugby players – an area in which she excels having been named Community Coach of the Year back in 2022 by Premiership Rugby.

The 21-year-old back row enjoyed a successful first campaign in the African Violet jersey as she was named Loughborough’s Young Player of the Year.

“Last season was incredibly enjoyable for me as a player, as I was constantly challenged by high-quality players and coaches, and learned a lot as a result,” Hibbert-Jones said.

“So, I’m really excited to be part of this group again for the upcoming campaign, and looking forward to playing quality rugby while pushing myself to become the best possible version of myself – both on and off the field.”

Daisy Hibbert-Jones

Lightning’s Head Coach, Nathan Smith, added: “We are excited to retain two young and exciting English talents within our programme, and push them on further in their rugby careers.

“Off the pitch, both are impressive young individuals, and it is obvious why they excel in their roles with Northampton.

“It is great for the players and for our partnership that they are able to balance these roles alongside playing Premiership Women’s Rugby week in, week out.”

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