UK (Loughborough University) Lightning appoint Nathan Smith as new Head Coach
Loughborough Lightning are delighted to announce the appointment of Nathan Smith as the Club’s new Head Coach.
Smith boasts a varied and distinguished career in performance rugby, and will lead the Lightning rugby programme as Loughborough embark on their next season in the new-look Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby (PWR) competition.
The 36-year-old arrives at Lightning having spent the past three seasons as Forwards Coach with Championship side Doncaster Knights.
He returns to Loughborough after leading the University’s BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Men’s team as Head Coach between 2018 and 2020. Prior to this, Smith was an Assistant Coach for Yorkshire Carnegie in the Championship.
“I’m delighted to join Loughborough Lightning as Head Coach,” he said. “The role provides me the opportunity to lead and shape a Premiership Women’s Rugby programme in an elite performance environment.
“Lightning has an exciting squad with a mix of world-class talent, and players who aspire to be at that level, and I’m looking forward to the coaching challenge that presents.
“I hope to reset and re-energise the Loughborough Lightning programme and provide players and staff with a clear direction both on and off the field. If we get that process correct, then we will start challenging at the right end of the table.
“The opportunity also to work in partnership with Northampton Saints on this project was something that strongly appealed. I can’t wait to get started.”
Loughborough University and Northampton Saints announced a landmark partnership in 2021 which saw Lightning become a joint Loughborough and Northampton Saints elite women’s team – with the aim of driving performance outcomes to ensure ongoing success for the Club at the pinnacle of professional English rugby.
“We’re delighted to welcome Nathan into the Loughborough Lightning and Northampton Saints set-up,” said Connor Fleming, Saints’ Head of Community and Women’s Rugby.
“His experience coaching at Championship level, as well as Loughborough’s BUCS sides, will be invaluable and we’re really excited to see the impact he can make with the Lightning squad in an exciting new Premiership Women’s Rugby competition.
“Saints and Loughborough are as committed as ever to our aims of competing at the highest level of women’s rugby in England, and growing the audience for the sport within our region.
“With even more Lightning fixtures set to be played in Northampton next season, exciting times are ahead and no doubt our partnership will continue to make progress on and off the pitch with Nathan at the helm.”