After a turbulent breakthrough season, Mansfield rugby union star Georgina Tasker is targeting bigger and better things on her rapid rise to the top.
The 18-year-old centre has had a season of two halves, starting with the disappointment of several missed months of action due to not being old enough to join up with the Loughborough Lightning first team in pre-season and her contracting Covid-19.
But, on her return, the former Samworth Church Academy student broke through into the side with Premier 15s league starts against Saracens and Sale Sharks while she also made the squad for her side’s semi-final clash with Sarries.
It’s some way from her humble beginnings in the sport when, prompted by parents wanting to keep her busy, she went along to her school’s rugby club in year seven – the rest, as they say, is history.
“It was hard to find form because I’d been out for so long,” she said.
“It was like I always playing catch-up at the start of the season, but it was really nice to eventually play and make my breakthrough.
“I went into training having not done pre-season so everybody had a month on me and then I was out for a month coming back from Covid so everyone got another month on me then.
“There’ve been quite a few bumps in the road this season, definitely at the start of it, but it got nice towards the end of the season.
“Especially with Covid, before the first lockdown I was supposed to get some Prem time and then I was meant to get some when I got Covid so it was nice to get to that end goal.
“I now feel more a part of the team because I’ve actually played for them!”
Tasker’s career on the pitch is fuelled by a partnership between Entain – owner of Ladbrokes and Coral – and SportsAid which provides vital funding for training, travel, equipment and access to mentoring.
The investment is supported by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and has seen the young talent accelerate following her Mansfield RFC days.
Now, she’s after glory with Loughborough and, who knows, maybe an England jersey too.
“It would be really good to win the Prem. Watching Quins win was great,” Tasker added.
“I’d also love to play for England but being in the squad for the [Premier 15s] semis and seeing the atmosphere there was inspiring for next season.
“I want to get more Prem time and then see where it goes from there.
“Lightning is such a