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Daley-Mclean wants Lightning to deliver complete performance

Katy Daley-Mclean returns to action for Loughborough Lightning against Richmond

While they have impressed in flashes this season, fly-half Katy Daley-Mclean is calling upon Loughborough Lightning to now deliver for a full 80 minutes.

Sarah Hunter’s outfit, which boasts fellow England stars in the form World Player of the Year Emily Scarratt and Daley-Mclean, return to Tyrrells Premier 15s action this weekend against Richmond.

They do so currently sitting right in the middle of the table in fifth place after what Daley-Mclean describes as a ‘mixed bag’ of a season with three wins and three defeats to their name.

Inconsistency has been the name of the game so far with Loughborough’s problems caused, for the most part, by their inability to follow up on strong first-half performances.

Lightning surrendered first-half leads against both of the top two sides in Harlequins and Saracens to eventually fall to defeat and Daley-Mclean stresses it is an area that must be improved.

“We’ve pushed Saracens and Harlequins close but not followed it up with a second half performance,” Daley-Mclean said.

“If we want to come out on top in those games we have to do it for 60-80 minutes and not just 40.

“What you can’t do is stop playing in the second half, thinking the game’s won.

“We need to get that balance between keeping playing but also playing in the right areas and making sure you’re making calculated decisions that should keep helping you build your score rather than sitting back as we did against Saracens and Harlequins.

“We got ourselves into a position where we allowed those girls to take ownership of that second half.”

Alongside the lows, Loughborough’s season has also featured extreme highs, including a 91-10 demolition of Firwood Waterloo.

But, if a failure to finish off matches has been the main reason for the disappointing performances then, as Daley-Maclean outlines, another factor has been the side experimenting with changes to their style of play.

She added: “It has been a total mixed bag and last year we went the first seven games unbeaten so it’s totally different.

“The rugby we’re trying to play is a bit different to last year so we’re trying to find our feet but also the quality of the league has significantly improved and every game is becoming more competitive.

“If you’re not going to perform on your day then other teams are going to turn you over and that’s basically what’s happened to us.

“Especially the second game against Bristol [a 27-10 defeat], we weren’t good enough and they deserved their win.”