Nielson relishing first start for Chiefs
By Harry Scott-Munro
Exeter Chiefs Women’s summer recruit Clara Nielson admitted that she was “loving being back” as she made her final preparations ahead of tomorrow’s Allianz Premier 15s clash away to Saracens (2pm).
Having previously studied at the University of Exeter, former Bristol Bears captain Nielson returned to the city during the off-season and is now set to make her first-ever start for Susie Appleby’s side.
“I was at Bristol for quite a few years, but obviously I went to university here,” she explained. “I know the city really well, so it’s class to be back. I’m very happy to be back down here in Devon.”
Nielson has impressed off the bench in her three appearances thus far for the club, helping the Chiefs to record notable victories over Sale Sharks, Harlequins and Wasps.
After what she admitted had been “quite a tough summer” as she adjusted to her new environment, Nielson has quickly settled into the Chiefs environment, focusing on the challenge that awaits her side in London this weekend.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” she added. “It’s been quite a tough summer, changing clubs and then getting to know all the new moves and settling in. I think, as a team, we’re really building towards this weekend and we know what’s coming, so we need to put a big performance out there.”
Reflecting on her side’s last three performances, Nielson expressed her pleasure at what her side have been beginning to build.
“We’re really pleased. We’re trying to build week on week as well, which is what I think we’ve been doing. As always, we’ve got things to work on and places where we can get better but we’re definitely building towards something which is great for the whole club.”
It doesn’t get much tougher than a trip to Saracens in the Premier 15s and Nielson is expecting a blockbuster encounter, although she insisted her side needed to focus on themselves first and foremost.
“It’ll definitely be physical. They got a good pack and a good back-row, so we know what to expect from that point of view. It’s something that we need to look to then put out our best performance against.”