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Kabeya: Something was ‘bubbling’ in Lightning camp ahead of Sale win

Sadia Kabeya felt ‘something was bubbling’ in the Loughborough Lightning camp ahead of Sunday’s bonus-point victory over Sale Sharks.

Sunday’s 38-15 victory was Lightning’s first league success at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens this term as Nathan Smith’s side bounced back from successive losses with a six-try success.

It was the 22-year-old Kabeya’s ninth successive game following her return to fitness, after an injury which ruled her out of England’s WXV squad last Autumn.

“We were very disheartened from that Leicester performance a few weeks ago, as that really wasn’t something that we wanted when we pictured how our games would go,” she said. “Against Bristol last week we built on stuff and our confidence grew then and coming into this game we felt something was bubbling, and we wanted to show what we are all about.

“We felt before Sale that we haven’t put out on the pitch our best performance. The mood was really high and very positive, so we wanted to grab the opportunity with both hands, especially at home against Sale, so overall it was a really positive result.”

Sadia Kabeya

Kabeya’s try four minutes into the second half was a dazzling effort from 30 metres out as she latched onto Bulou Mataitoga’s pass before pinning her ears back to land her fourth try in as many games.

“It felt great to score,” said the flanker. “We’ve been running that move and set-up in training this week. So, for it to actually work and it was me to score the try was great. It is always nice to get on the score sheet.”

By the time Kabeya landed her side’s bonus-point sealing score, her company on the starting back row for nine successive games; Daisy Hibbert-Jones and Rachel Malcolm, had already crossed the whitewash.

“It’s really nice to play with Daisy and Rachel,” added the forward, who is currently away on a Red Roses training camp with Hibbert-Jones and club-mates Emily Scarratt, Helena Rowland and Lilli Ives Campion this week.

“Rachel is a really experienced head on the field, always knowing where she needs to be and what she needs to do. Both her and Daisy have a similar energy on the pitch, and I feel like I slot in really well with those two.”

Focusing on the key to the Sale success, Kabeya added: “When we have the ball and able to keep it and go through the phases that really helped us to build the score as we sometimes get ahead of ourselves slightly. We are a very fit team compared to some sides in the league so when we build through multiple phases, more often than not, it ends with points on the board.”

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