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Emma Wassell signs on again for Loughborough Lightning

Scotland forward Emma Wassell has become the latest Loughborough Lightning player to extend her contract with the club.

The second/back row joined Lightning towards the end of the 2021/22 campaign, making her debut against Sale Sharks and made her 28th appearance against Harlequins recently, when she scored her third try for the Club.

Aberdeen-born Wassell made her international debut a decade ago and played a record-breaking 54 consecutive matches.

During the 2024 Guinness Women’s Six Nations, the 29-year-old moved to 67 Scotland caps, taking her to ninth in their all-time appearance list and is Scotland women’s second most capped lock.

Helping to push her performance levels to continue to compete on the international stage was key to her decision to join – and remain – with Lightning.

“The big thing for me is, in terms of deciding where I was going to play my club rugby, was how am I going to get the best out of me?” she said. “Obviously as a player but as a leader, how many different parts in a game can I improve on and how can I add value to a club?

“In previous this years, Sarah Hunter was a player/coach at Lightning and was a big reason and I felt like I learned a lot from her. I enjoyed the set-up and loved the players, but Nathan coming in as well, he will push you as an individual and as a player.

“I've really liked his [Nathan Smith] approach to a lot of things, he challenges you, asks questions and I would say I have learned a lot.”

Emma Wassell

“I think no matter how old you are, how many years you have played, being able to keep on continuously learn or push yourself to make yourself a wee bit uncomfortable, and that is to play the best rugby for Lightning but also internationally, it is hugely important that I can come back and I feel like I am still improving.”

Wassell studied accountancy and finance at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University and was working as an accountant when she started her Lightning journey, before later going full-time as a professional player.

She follows Rachel Malcolm, Christine Belisle, Megan Davey, Sadia Kabeya, Bo Westcombe-Evans, Lilli Ives Campion, Catherine O’Donnell,  Carmela Morrall and Lia Green as players whose contract extensions have been announced in recent months.

The re-signings reflect the rich mix of the Lightning squad from seasoned internationals to many who shone for Loughborough University in their fantastic run to the final of the BUCS National Championship.

“One thing I do really enjoy about Lightning is how we have developed this one-club integration with the BUCS girls and some of the girls who are maybe not playing week-in, week-out, but it is very much a full-squad effort in terms of the girls coming to training and how they can develop,” said Wassell.

“They might not be playing at the weekend but they can help us prepare. It is really nice, some of the younger BUCS and development players play a big role in the club. You can see how we are pushing on. The consistency of personnel is hugely important and you can see from the re-signings, it is a nice club to be at. We enjoy it, we work hard, but I also really enjoy the culture around it and the set-up at Loughborough is class as well.”

Lightning head coach Nathan Smith said: “One of Wass’s biggest attributes is that she is a tough individual and she is a tough player. She has had a lot of injury setbacks over the past 12 months, she has bounced back from that and she is playing some really good rugby at the moment.

“She really shows the toughness we want within our game and shows that on the field. Wass is a very diligent lineout forward who is a key leader within our setpiece strategy groups. She is a good person to have around.

“Especially with the age demographic of the team, we have got a lot of young impressionable players and we need the right role models to lead them in the right direction for the future of Lightning and Emma does that without a doubt.”

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