HEAD coach Ioan Cunningham has named his Wales Women’s senior squad for the forthcoming TIKTOK Six Nations campaign.
The 36-strong squad will open the championship hosting Ireland at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday, March 25 (kick-off: 14:15).
Centre Hannah Jones will captain the side and will resume the role after leading the side during the 2022 World Cup in New Zealand.
Cunningham has named six exciting uncapped players, prop Abbey Constable, flanker Bryonie King, lock Charlie Mundy, flanker Kate Williams, centres Catherine Richards and Jenna De Vera.
Backrower Williams is named in the squad after pledging her future to the country of her birth. The Swansea-born but Auckland-raised Williams trained with the squad during the recent World Cup and has moved to Wales to further her international ambitions.
Centre De Vera is a product of the Welsh Rugby Union pathway and is promoted to the senior squad after impressing with Wales U18s and the Development XV.
Scrum-half Meg Davies and wingers Courtney Keight and Hannah Bluck return to the squad as Wales look to emulate last season’s third-place finish.
Cunningham has selected a squad with a 19 forwards and 17 backs split.
Cunningham said: “This is always an exciting moment naming a squad and this is very much a fresh start after the recent World Cup and we cannot wait to get back out there and to play again.
“We are building nicely, the tournament is not too far away and Ireland will be our first challenge and we are looking to starting the campaign well. We have six uncapped players named in the squad and we know it’s important we expose some new players.
“We need to grow the depth in our squad and we have to have one eye on the 2025 World Cup and build on the performances we produced in last season’s Six Nations and the World Cup in New Zealand.
“Hannah Jones grew at the World Cup as a leader and she deserves to lead this side because she drives the standards on and off the pitch and her work ethic is outstanding.”
Jones said: “It’s a really proud moment to be named captain and we have all worked really hard as a group over the last few years and to have the opportunity to lead this squad is an honour.
“We have had players come through from the Celtic Cup into the squad and that is really exciting and we are just all looking forward to getting going and playing Ireland in the first game.
“The new players have been welcomed into the environment and we are excited about that and they will have already seen how hard we work and the standards we have for the TikTok Six Nations.
“We want to build on what we did last year. We finished third and that was brilliant but we know we have to keep building performances and that will then transform into results.”
The Welsh Rugby Union announced a major investment in the Wales Women’s senior team with 25 full-time player contracts awarded to players ahead of the TikTok Six Nations.
Wales Women’s Senior Squad for the 2023 TikTok Six Nations
FORWARDS: Abbey Constable, Abbie Fleming, Alex Callander, Bethan Lewis, Bryonie King, Cara Hope, Caryl Thomas, Carys Phillips, Cerys Hale, Charlie Mundy, Georgia Evans, Gwen Crabb, Gwenllian Pyrs, Kat Evans, Kate Williams, Kelsey Jones, Natalia John, Sioned Harries, Sisilia Tuipulotu
BACKS: Amelia Tutt, Carys Williams-Morris, Catherine Richards, Courtney Keight, Elinor Snowsill, Ffion Lewis, Hannah Bluck, Hannah Jones (C), Jenna De Vera, Keira Bevan, Kerin Lake, Lisa Neumann, Lleucu George, Lowri, Norkett, Megan Davies, Niamh Terry, Robyn Wilkins