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Lightning deliver meaningful display to secure Sale victory, says Alex White

Loughborough Lightning delivered a ‘meaningful performance’, according to attack coach Alex White, to defeat Sale Sharks and bounce back from a couple of recent defeats.

The African Violets landed six tries in Sunday’s Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby Round 13 victory at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

Lightning’s back-row trio of Daisy Hibbert-Jones, Rachel Malcolm and Sadia Kabeya all crossed for tries while Kathryn Treder, Carys Williams-Morris and Lilli Ives Campion all got on the scoresheet with Helena Rowland converting four in the 38-15 success.

“It’s good to finally get a result after some decent performances, to piece something together for a more meaningful period of time and that showed on the scoreboard,” said White.

“We scored some great tries but we were definitely two or three tries short of probably what we deserved with some of our build up play. All that does is emphasise how clinical we need to be in the opposition’s 22 when we work so hard to get in there.”

Full-back Helen Nelson was awarded the TNT Sports player of the match by former England player Kat Merchant, as the backs division produced one of their most threatening performances of the campaign.

“They’re all world-class footballers, it almost doesn’t matter what number they have got on their back,” said White. “We saw Nelly [Helen Nelson] being first receiver, Helena [Rowland] out the back, Scaz [Emily Scarratt] and Baz [Bulou Mataitoga] interlinking.

“But then also the wingers as well, Bo [Westcombe-Evans] and Ellen [Scantlebury] to start with then Carys [Williams-Morris] when she came on, they worked really, really hard off their wing and they’re so interchangeable. 

“We’re really lucky to not have just one or two, but three, four, five, six players of that quality in our backline.”

Alex White, Loughborough Lightning attack coach

For a second match running at the Gardens, more than 1,000 supporters were in attendance and played their part in the PWR’s Super PWR Weekend where all four matches were televised or screened live and were played in main stadiums.

“The fan-klappers were a welcome addition!” said White on the free items that were handed to supporters upon arrival on Sunday. “The atmosphere has been great. The Tigers was a really good turnout and we have done another good job here today. Credit to Northampton and credit to the travelling Loughborough-based supporters. It’s just getting better and better, long may it continue.”

Next up for Lightning is a trip to Exeter Chiefs on Saturday, which will be their final league match for two months heading into the Women’s Six Nations period.

“Exeter away is always going to be a tough ask,” said White. “We’ve done enough in training, we’ve done enough in snapshots in previous fixtures, then finally today we’ve put a meaningful performance together. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be heading down to Sandy Park with our tails up and confident we can go and get some points.”

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