Source: Loughborough Lightning

Cath O’Donnell signs on again for Lightning

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Cath O’Donnell’s desire to see where Loughborough Lightning can go next was a key motivating factor in extending her contract beyond the 2023/24 campaign.

The 27-year-old England international has put pen to paper on a new deal with the African Violets that will see her remain at the Club she first joined back in 2017.

The powerful lock has gone on to make 54 Lightning appearances scoring an impressive 16 tries in the process – including three in her last two Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby games.

“I feel like I’m in a really good place,” said O’Donnell. “I’m happy, enjoying it, but there are still things I want to achieve.

“This season has been a really exciting one and the progress we have made is on a different level.

“We have been going from strength-to-strength week-in week-out, and the reason I have signed is because I want to see where we can go next. The Club also looks after me really well and that helps me stay at the top of my game.”

O’Donnell arrived at Loughborough University to study for her Masters in Psychology and immediately commenced playing for Lightning, making her debut from the bench against Harlequins in September 2017.

She was part of Lightning’s first squad as they entered the Premier 15s for its inaugural season in 2017/18, helping them to a fifth-place finish.

It was during that season when O’Donnell made her Red Roses debut against Ireland in the Six Nations before earning a second cap against Scotland. Her first international try came against Ireland in the 2018 Quilter Internationals.

The 2018/19 season was a successful one at Club and International level, scoring nine tries in 16 games to help Lightning finish third and book their place in the play-offs. O’Donnell crossed the line three more times for the Red Roses to win her first of three Six Nations titles (2019, 2021 and 2023).

O’Donnell has moved to 30 Red Roses caps, picking up a Rugby World Cup runners-up medal in 2022 and lifted the inaugural WXV1 title last autumn in New Zealand.

The former Firwood Waterloo player was one of five Lightning players selected for this week’s three-day training camp at St George’s Park ahead of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations.

Loughborough Lightning Head Coach Nathan Smith said: “I have been really impressed with Cath since I have come into the Club. She is a hard-working, dedicated professional, who is one of the cornerstones of our pack, and I am delighted that she has re-signed and that she believes in the project moving forward.

“She is a world-class lock and is very good in the tight play. She is a great person to have in the group, she works hard in training, she is prepared and diligent. We are really lucky to have her in the environment.”

With thanks to Loughborough Lightning 

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