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Nathan Smith of Loughborough Lightning
Claire Jones / RedHatPhoto.com
Nathan Smith of Loughborough Lightning
Claire Jones / RedHatPhoto.com
Women’s Rugby

Lightning’s ability to ‘grind out a victory’ against Trailfinders pleases Smith

Loughborough Lightning head coach Nathan Smith was delighted with his side’s ability to ‘grind out a victory’ as they narrowly defeated Trailfinders Women 19-18 on Saturday afternoon at the Trailfinders Sports Ground.

The African Violets went into the break six points behind as tries from Laura Keates and Kathryn Treder were cancelled out with two scores from the home side through Abby Dow and Vicky Laflin, along with two penalties from the boot of Ellie Green. 

Lightning showed great improvement in the second 40, as they held the hosts scoreless and managed a try of their own as Treder grabbed her second of the day and with Emily Scarratt’s touchline conversion proving crucial come the final whistle.

“A 19-18 win away from home shows that we are mentally in a good place,” Smith said. “It’s not always going to be a case of blowing teams away. Sometimes you can throw the kitchen sink at them and they can take it, that’s just how it is sometimes.

“We have had two pretty big games against Gloucester and Harlequins so I just thought emotionally we weren’t there. What I was pleased with was how we found a way to grind out a victory away from home."

“I think at the start of the season we probably would have lost the game, so it’s great to see that we are tough enough to find a way to win.”

Nathan Smith

“Trailfinders were really good. We created enough chances to win by a higher margin, but defensively, they were brilliant. They stopped us playing our game and also their commitment with holding three of our scores up over the line which would have broken other teams.”

There were some standout performers across the field for Loughborough and Smith was full of praise for a number of players after the victory.

“The back row as a whole were really good today. Daisy [Hibbert-Jones], Sadia [Kabeya] and Rachel [Malcolm] all stepped up and put in a great performance. Kathryn Treder also putting in another solid 80-minute performance was pretty impressive.”

Two of Lightning’s three tries came from dominant rolling mauls, with the second from 20 metres out, and Smith explained the importance of a strong forward pack and set-piece.

“At the end of the day, you’re going to go nowhere without a set-piece. We pride ourselves in our maul attack as it can get us into games when we have lost a foot hold in a contest.”

Nathan Smith

“I’ve never seen any team become successful without a solid set-piece so it’s really important to us and a big part of what we are doing.”

The win sees Lightning secure fifth place in the Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby table with one game to spare as they now look forward to their final game of the campaign back at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens on Sunday 2 June against Saracens (kick-off: 3pm), tickets are available by clicking HERE.

“Next weekend’s game is going to be a completely different challenge back at the Gardens,” Smith explained. “They are one of the top performers in the league. We are just excited to get out there in front of the home fans for one more time this season and we’re hoping to put a good show on for them.”

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