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Lightning name side to host Bristol at the Gardens

Director of Rugby Rhys Edwards makes four changes to Loughborough Lightning’s starting XV ahead of this weekend’s Allianz Premier 15s clash against Bristol Bears.

Lightning take to the cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens turf for the fourth time this term, looking for their third win of the campaign and to continue their strong run on Northampton soil.

Edwards’ side were just edged out by Bristol 31-26 when the sides met back in December, and with Loughborough looking to climb up the table a victory over the mid-table Bears would go a long way.

There’s just one change to Lightning’s back-line from last weekend’s defeat away at Exeter, with Carmela Morrall coming into the midfield and Emma Hardy switching to outside centre.

That means the back three of Fran Goldthorp, Carys Williams-Morris and fullback Chloe Rollie remains unchanged, while half-back duo Helen Nelson and Megan Davey also continue and will look to pull the strings on Saturday afternoon.

Two fresh faces come into the front row, with Maja Meuller returning from international duty to start at hooker, and Detysha Harper starting at tighthead prop following her selection for England for the 2023 Six Nations.

Katie Trevarthen remains at loosehead prop, but there is one further change to the engine room with Cath O’Donnell coming in to join England teammate Morwenna Talling in the second row.

For the fifth-straight week, Lightning stick with the vastly experienced international back row combination of Scotland and Loughborough skipper Rachel Malcolm alongside England’s Sadia Kabeya and No.8 Sarah Hunter.

Meanwhile amongst the replacements there is a return to action for Canada international Sara Svoboda, and the likes of Lilli Ives Campion, Christine Belisle and Lucy Weaver will hope to make an impact off the bench.

LOUGHBOROUGH LIGHTNING vs BRISTOL BEARS
Allianz Premier 15s
Saturday 4 March 2023
cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 3pm

15 Chloe Rollie
14 Fran Goldthorp
13 Emma Hardy
12 Carmela Morrall
11 Carys Williams-Morris
10 Helen Nelson
9 Megan Davey

1 Katie Trevarthen
2 Maja Meuller
3 Detysha Harper
4 Cath O’Donnell
5 Morwenna Talling
6 Rachel Malcolm (c)
7 Sadia Kabeya
8 Sarah Hunter

Replacements:
16 Bryony Field
17 Grace Clifford
18 Christine Belisle
19 Lilli Ives Campion
20 Sara Svoboda
21 Sally Williams
22 Lucy Weaver
23 Georgina Tasker

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