Source: Loughborough Lightning

Chloe Rollie returns to Lightning starting line-up

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Scotland international Chloe Rollie returns to the Loughborough Lightning starting line-up for this weekend’s Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby trip to face Harlequins.

The 28-year-old missed out on the trip to Gloucester-Hartpury due to injury but will feature at fullback in Saturday’s encounter at Twickenham Stoop (kick-off: 2pm).

Rollie takes the place of fellow Scot Helen Nelson in the squad as the fly-half misses out due to injury. A reshuffle in the backs division sees Red Roses ace Helena Rowland switch from outside centre to wear the number ten shirt for the second time this season.

Rowland’s place in the midfield is filled by Bulou Mataitoga, who carried for the second-most metres gained (174) in the league last weekend from fullback.

She is joined in the centres by Carmela Morrall. The 19-year-old is one of six Lightning players to have started every league game this season and will extend that record at the Stoop on Saturday along with Christine Belisle, Emma Wassell, Megan Davey, Georgina Tasker, and Rachel Malcolm.

Left winger and vice-captain Tasker stretches her record as being the only Lightning player to start every Allianz Cup and PWR match this season as she makes the XV for an eleventh time. Bo Westcombe-Evans, fresh from registering her sixth try in nine games this term at Gloucester-Hartpury, wears the number 14 shirt.

The forwards remain unchanged with Catherine Wells, who made her Lightening debut in Round 7, going from the start at loosehead prop. Hooker Kathryn Treder starts for a fourth successive game hoping to add the three tries scored across that period. Tighthead prop Belisle completes the front row.

Wassell packs down in the second row alongside last weekend’s two-try star, Catherine O’Donnell.

Sadia Kabeya, whose 17 tackles at the Hartpury University Stadium moved her clear at the top of the league’s average tackles made per match (20.7), features at openside flanker in the back row with captain Malcolm and Daisy Hibbert-Jones at number eight.

Among the replacements there is one change as fly-half Lia Green features for the first time since Round 1, as head coach Nathan Smith opts for a split of five forwards and three backs to face Harlequins.

“This is a big block of fixtures for us where we will be looking to continue with the progress we have made in recent weeks and build on that momentum,” Smith said.

“The energy in the camp remains positive and competition for places is fierce. Everyone is looking forward to the challenge ahead this weekend.”

HARLEQUINS v LOUGHBOROUGH LIGHTNING
Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby, Round 8
Saturday 13 January 2024
Twickenham Stoop
Kick-off: 2pm

15 Chloe Rollie
14 Georgina Tasker (vc)
13 Bulou Mataitoga
12 Carmela Morrall
11 Bo Westcombe-Evans
10 Helena Rowland
9 Megan Davey

1 Catherine Wells
2 Kathryn Treder
3 Christine Belisle
4 Emma Wassell
5 Catherine O’Donnell
6 Rachel Malcolm (c)
7 Sadia Kabeya
8 Daisy Hibbert-Jones

Replacements:
16 Maja Mueller
17 Katie Trevarthen
18 Grace Clifford
19 Abby Duguid
20 Hallie Taufoou
21 Jess Weaver
22 Lia Green
23 Carys Williams-Morris

With thanks to Loughborough Lightning

 

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