About the team:
From the beginning of the women’s game Loughborough were a dominant part of the student rugby scene. In the early days Jim Greenwood, one of the most influential rugby coaches of all time, took charge of the Loughborough women’s team and they have produced 35 women’s internationals.
However, the introduction and prevalence of the Women’s Premiership over British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) created a significant problem for a student team. The aim at Loughborough across performance sports is to create an environment where an athlete can excel in their sport and their study in one place and that was not really possible with the Premiership.
It was the addition of Rugby Sevens to the Olympics that was the inspiration to start for the university to look at their team again. They ran a sevens programme for a couple of years and started to actively recruit again, resulting in the likes of England internationals Meg Jones and Amy Cokayne coming to Loughborough. When the proposals for the new league and the RFU investment to set up the Tyrrells Premier 15s began, Loughborough saw it as a perfect opportunity to throw their hat back in the ring.
Loughborough Lightning’s rugby team is a newcomer to the high performing women’s sports at Loughborough. Across athletics, swimming, netball, cricket, hockey, triathlon, badminton, tennis and basketball there are approximately 200 female performance athletes operating at a high level.
Led by Rhys Edwards as head coach, and England captain Sarah Hunter as assistant, Loughborough are looking to create a competitive programme which makes the most of the increased levels of support from the RFU and the improved environment of the new league.