Source: Loughborough Lightning

Abby Diguid re-joins Lightning – Kacirkova signs after trial

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Abby Duguid has returned to Loughborough Lightning, with the Club securing the signature of the lock on a new contract ahead of the 2023/24 season.

The 25-year-old Canadian international moves back to Lightning after spending a year back in her homeland playing for Nor’Westers Athletic Association.

Duguid originally joined Loughborough back in 2020, making 25 appearances in her first stint in an African Violet shirt, and is looking forward to making more memories as Lightning take to cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens again this season.

“Being away from Premiership Women’s Rugby only made me realise how much I missed the competition and the chance to better myself among the world’s best,” said Duguid.

“After hearing that Nathan [Smith] would be taking over the programme I had full confidence that I would be challenged to be better every day. I’m most looking forward to seeing this team succeed in many ways and how I can play a role in that success.”

Duguid started her rugby in her home province of Alberta, Canada, working through the local side’s ranks alongside Canada’s national age-groups. The lock featured for Canada Under-20s before earning her first senior cap for the Maple Leafs in 2022 as a replacement against USA.

The Canadian international made the move to the UK from native Edmonton midway through the Covid-19 pandemic, touching down in Loughborough in October 2020. And after a season at Edmonton Pirates, Duguid – whose younger brother Tyler plays for Montpellier in France’s Top 14 – returns to Premiership Women’s Rugby in time for the coming season.

Lightning head coach Nathan Smith said: “Abby is hardworking player that I am looking forward to working with during the season ahead.

“I believe that being in our competitive environment, training and playing with the quality of players we have including so many internationals, she will become a regular in the Canadian international set-up.”

Meanwhile, Loughborough have also signed former DMP Sharks player Karolina Kacirkova, after the wing impressed during a four-week trial.

Kacirkova joined the Sharks last summer from Hull Ionians, scoring one try in 15 league appearances last term in her first campaign in the top flight.

Duguid and Kacirkova join 23 others in signing for, or recommitting to, Lightning ahead of the upcoming Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby season.

For the first time this term, Loughborough’s home league matches will be played at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens – Season Tickets covering all nine games are available now and start from just £60 adult / £45 adult terrace / £25 junior (under-18s).

With thanks to Loughborough Lightning