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Scotland prop Christine Belisle re-signs with Loughborough Lightning

Scotland international Christine Belisle has committed her future to Loughborough Lightning for two more seasons.

The tighthead prop is currently away on international duty and earned her 32nd cap in the second round of the Women’s Six Nations when Scotland were narrowly beaten by France.

The Canada-born forward joined Lightning in 2021, making her debut against Worcester Warriors and has moved to 35 appearances for the African Violets.

During that time, she has established herself as an Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby front rower having arrived after making a positional switch from the second/back row into the number three shirt.

“When I first came to Lightning I knew it was time for me to move somewhere I would face more international players, more consistently, because that’s how I knew I would get better in that position,” said Belisle, who has started all 12 of Lightning’s league games so far this season. 

“I feel like I have been developing really well, not just with set-piece stuff but also just as a player as a whole. Being able to play alongside my international friends every week is also pretty special.”

Christine Belisle

“The team as a whole has grown closer, we have got a really good community and it was easy for me to stay. As a 30-year-old in Loughborough it could be tricky as it is a University town, but it is made a lot easier with the girls that were around all the time. We have a really good squad and it doesn’t grow tiring which is quite nice.”

Belisle is one of five Lighting players who have represented Scotland during the Six Nations – alongside Rachel Malcolm, Emma Wassell, Helen Nelson and Chloe Rollie.

“I have signed for another two years because a lot of the girls I enjoy playing with are staying, and that is massive for me,” added Belisle. “When we see where we finished last year to where we have been building this year, we have left a few performances out on pitches but you cannot deny how the squad has been improving.

“You can feel in our training sessions, you can feel in our games that we are getting better and we are building towards something really special, and knowing we are retaining a lot of the players that are a part of that is massive.

“Because that's everyone buying into knowing something is going to happen. But also, I just enjoy the community. I like the coaches and they have developed me as a player.

“I am not ready to go anywhere else because it has been really special to see how much we’ve grown from last season to now, and then having the results following that is just undeniable. It has been an easy re-sign because we’re only going to continue getting better and I want to be a part of that.”

Head Coach Nathan Smith was pleased to keep the international prop in his squad. He said: “First and foremost, we are really lucky to have CB in the environment, and that she has agreed to extend her stay at Loughborough Lightning. I think she exhibits the professional behaviours that we are chasing here for all our players and there's still a massive amount of growth within her game.”

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