It’s Katy Daley for the new ladies franchise.
“England fly-half Katy Daley-Mclean has left Loughborough Lightning to embark on “a great new challenge” at Premier 15s newcomers Sale Sharks, where she will take up a player-coach role from next season.
Highly regarded as one of the best kickers in the women’s game, Daley-Mclean is now the Red Roses’ second-highest points scorer, after Emily Scarratt surpassed the 34-year-old’s tally of 535 in England’s 53-0 win over Scotland during this year’s Six Nations.
In a statement posted on the Lightning’s social media page on Friday, Daley-Mclean said she had left the midlands club to embark on a “great new challenge” at Sale, who are believed to be investing £1m over the next three years in their women’s programme.
Speaking about her decision to sign for the Sharks, Daley-Mclean said: “The opportunity to combine a player role with some coaching responsibilities is one that I am relishing, particularly the chance to share some of my experiences with a new generation of talented players in the North West.
“Aligning with such a successful men's side, Sale women have the opportunity and ambition to ultimately develop a side capable of competing with the dominant women's clubs in the South, I'd love to be a part of creating that shift.”
Darren Lamon, head of women’s rugby at Sale Sharks, singled Daley-Mclean out as a “role model” whose expertise will help develop elite women’s rugby in the north.
He said: “Having Katy orchestrating the game on the pitch will be massive for our new team, but to have her influence as assistant coach, specifically developing our attacking philosophy and supporting our younger players will be invaluable.
“Part of our conversations with Katy were that we would want to use this opportunity to future proof the North West’s talented athletes. For too long local players have felt that they need to leave the region to progress to the next level and we want to show that we are going to be that next level.
“Given that Katy has been part of some of the best rugby set-ups in the game, to have her check and challenge everything we are doing as a performance team and also input into our centre of excellence, to ensure talented girls in the region receive the best opportunity to reach their potential.”