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Loughborough Lightning name squad for Allianz Cup clash with Harlequins

Loughborough Lightning have made three changes to their starting line-up for Saturday’s Allianz Cup clash with Harlequins at The Stoop (kick-off: 2pm).

Head coach Nathan Smith has named the same backs division that ran out at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens against Saracens a fortnight ago.

The changes all come in the forwards with props Katie Trevarthen and Isla Curphy – who both featured from the bench against Saracens – given starting roles while Maja Meuller takes the place of Daisy Hibbert-Jones following the number eight’s Red Roses call-up.

England Under-18s prop Amelia Williams and new signing Kaz Kacirkova will make their Lightning debuts if they are introduced as replacements. Also among the substitutes are Jess Panayiotou and Cat Westley, who are both in line to make their first competitive appearances of the season.

“We knew at the start of the Cup period this was a very young team,” said Smith. “We knew they’d not played a lot of senior rugby so I think it’s great that we’re able to keep the nucleus of the team together and build their experience and development together.

‘‘We’re on a bit of a journey during this Cup block, it’s just great that we’re in a position to keep continuity and that then aids their development and progression moving forward. We’ve been lucky in that regard.”

Nathan Smith, Loughborough Lightning Head Coach

Lightning have 13 players away representing five different countries in the inaugural WXV during October and November. The latest addition is Hibbert-Jones – a tryscorer in the Saracens defeat – being called up to replace her injured clubmate Sadia Kabeya in the Red Roses squad.

“We’re really proud of Daisy,” added Smith. “She worked really hard for this opportunity and this is the best for her development moving forward. I think she will develop more going away with the Red Roses and those experiences, than she will playing in the remaining Cup games. We’re just really happy she’s going to be challenged even further.”

Saturday’s hosts Harlequins have started their Allianz Cup campaign strongly with victories over Ealing Trailfinders and Saracens.

“Quins have obviously had a great start to the Cup campaign,’’ said Smith. “They’ve got some experienced players within their team so it should be a good challenge for this group to go away to the Stoop against a reasonably experienced team. We’re just hoping to keep moving forward performance-wise in the right direction.”

HARLEQUINS vs LOUGHBOROUGH LIGHTNING
Allianz Cup, Round 3
Saturday 14 October, 2023
Twickenham Stoop
Kick-off: 2pm

15 Georgina Tasker (vc)
14 Ellen Scantlebury
13 Emma Hardy
12 Carmela Morrall
11 Bo Westcombe-Evans
10 Lia Green
9 Megan Davey

1 Katie Trevarthen
2 Kendall Waudby
3 Isla Curphey
4 Becky Boyd
5 Lilli Ives Campion
6 Ellie Roberts
7 Sally Williams (c)
8 Maja Meuller

Replacements:
16 Kath Baverstock
17 Amelia Williams
18 Jess Panayiotou
19 Cat Westley
20 Sarah Shrestha
21 Jess Weaver
22 Alex Baker
23 Kaz Kacirkova

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