By Rosie Foley
Wales want to prove that they are here to play. They must win games during this Six Nations to show that not only are they are making progress but women’s rugby in Wales is progressing to keep up with the likes of England.
Wales faced Ireland in a Pre-Six Nation’s friendly on the 20th of January where they lost 29-19. Despite the loss they showed promise in the second half as they gained the lead, 19-15, but they could not hold onto it. Nevertheless, it sets Wales in good stead for the upcoming tournament. Head Coach, Rowland Phillips was pleased with the result.
‘Sunday’s match against Ireland Women was a very positive exercise as part of our Six Nations preparation.’
‘It was good to remind ourselves of the intensity of international rugby, especially in the contact area, and was excellent hit-out for all involved.’
With only winning one game last year against Scotland, Wales finished bottom of the table. However, their performance during the autumn internationals showed much improvement, coming away with two wins against Hong Kong and South Africa.
Phillips is hoping that the wins during the autumn will bring better results this year.
‘It’s pretty clear that we stepped things up in the autumn and made significant progress against quality teams.’
‘We need to now win games and get that winning mentality’ said Phillips.
The squad has a mixture of experience and youthful talent. There are 6 un-capped players named in the squad; Molly Kelly (RGC), Brea Leung (RGC), Bethan Davies (RGC), Niamh Terry (Ospreys), Caitlin Lewis (Scarlets) and Alex Callender (Scarlets). Despite Alex, Molly and Niamh being 18 and Caitlin having just turned 19, the inexperience of the youth does not phase Phillips.
‘We had a young squad in the autumn with three 17-year-olds who were in the squad because they are very, very good player.’
A strong addition to the squad is 48 times capped, Elinor Snowsill. Snowsill, who was not included in the autumn international squad, commented on how Wales have beaten all the teams individually, but they have not been consistent.
‘It’s about putting all those wins in together and winning in a row so that we can actually get a good standing in the tournament’.
Wales’ first game is away to France and Phillips does not want to repeat the failure they made against Ireland.
‘We failed to capitalise on pressure we put on Ireland and gave away penalties at key moments. We can’t afford to do that when we come up against France.’
Before returning to the Wales, they then go on to challenge Italy. After the break, Wales face the newly awarded professional women’s team, England.
The Welsh side will be hoping that the home crowd will bring extra support they need in what could be their toughest match of the campaign. Following this the team travel up to Scotland, where they wish to do the same as last year and come away with a win. Finishing the tournament back home in the Arm’s Park against Ireland.
Both home games and their opening game against France will be shown on S4C, with home games being played in Cardiff Arm’s Park.
2nd Feb – France v Wales – 21:00
9th Feb – Italy v Wales – 20:00
24th Feb – Wales v England – 12:30
8th Mar – Scotland v Wales – 19:35
17th Mar – Wales v Ireland – 13:30