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Helen Nelson extends contract with Loughborough Lightning

Scotland international Helen Nelson has agreed a new deal to stay with Loughborough Lightning.

The versatile back joined the club for prior to the 2019/20 league campaign, and to date, has made 56 appearances for the African Violets.

Nelson made her international debut for Scotland against France in the 2016 Women’s Six Nations championship and has gone on to make 60 caps, scoring 167 points in all, including three tries.

Her rugby journey began as an adult at Edinburgh University and for Murrayfield Wanderers. Upon graduation, she spent a year playing for Montpellier and tasted the success of a league title while in France. 

“It’s already my fifth season which feels crazy and I’m loving it,” she said. "The set-up is world class and it is also a great group of girls. You have a constant flow of students and new faces coming in, but there has also been a good core group of us that have stayed this whole time.

It was a pretty easy decision to sign  a new contract. Nathan [Smith, head coach] this year has brought in a breath of fresh air. It’s been the same playing group for a while now, but I think what we have shown this season in terms of climbing the table and securing our spot in fifth.”

“We have definitely got aspirations of making that top four and going further than that.”

Helen Nelson

“So, I am excited about what we can do because I want to win trophies with this team, and I have got confidence that this group can do that.”

And with the World Cup on the horizon in 2025, Nelson is pleased to be settled at a club that will help her cement her spot in the Scotland side.

“Playing for Scotland is something I am really passionate about,” said the 30-year-old. "If it didn’t work moving so seamlessly between Scotland and Loughborough it would be a little tricky. Moving from both teams regular is quite tough, not just on me, but also the girls that stay at Lightning. 

“Everyone is so supportive though and they always celebrate our success’s and pick us up when we need it. Loughborough is an environment that celebrates you representing your country which is brilliant.

Lightning head coach Nathan Smith said: “We are really happy that Helen has agreed to stay with us. She is exactly the sort of person I want in the environment. She played here 50th game against Bristol which was thoroughly deserved. 

“She is integral to Lightning, and she will be integral to Lightning’s development moving forward. Her versatility is invaluable to us. Whatever position she plays, she excels within that position.” 

Nelson follows fellow Scotland internationals ​Rachel Malcolm, Christine Belisle and Emma Wassell in signing new deals ahead of the 2024/25 season, while Megan Davey, Sadia Kabeya, Bo Westcombe-Evans, Lilli Ives Campion, Catherine O’Donnell, Carmela Morrall and Lia Green have also agreed new deals.

Loughborough Lightning season tickets for the 2024/25 season are available now from just £40* for adults and £20* children, click HERE for more information.

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