WALES Women head coach Ioan Cunningham has named a fresh-looking side to take on Canada on Saturday which rewards form while also testing a few combinations ahead of the forthcoming Rugby World Cup.
There are two uncapped players in the starting line-up – centre Carys Williams-Morris and wing Lowri Norkett – along with a third on the bench – scrum half Eloise Hayward.
There are also first opportunities of the year in a Wales shirt for hooker Kat Evans, second row Abbie Fleming and flanker Manon Johnes who have all bagged a place in the starting XV. Wing Jasmine Joyce returns to the side after undergoing a shoulder operation in May and centre Hannah Jones captains the side.
Cunningham said: “This week has already certainly served a valuable purpose in helping us to raise the standard of our preparation ahead of Rugby World Cup. The players have worked really hard throughout this block and we are all looking forward to testing ourselves against the No 4 team in the world on Saturday.
“The selection rewards players who have really impressed in training recently and also gives us a chance to see players we haven’t seen in a Wales jersey as a management team. Abbie Fleming, Manon Johnes and Kat Evans fully deserve this opportunity having worked really hard. They didn’t get much of a chance in the Six Nations, so now’s their chance to shine.
“And then we have first time opportunities for Lowri Norkett who has also trained the house down and Carys Williams who has settled really well into our environment. They are both very dynamic players and give us different attacking options.
“It’s great to see Jaz back on field having recovered well from her lay-off and we are thrilled to hand Hannah the captaincy for this game. Siwan is on the bench and has a different role this week but we are developing leadership in a number of areas and everyone will be supporting Hannah in this role that she fully deserves.
“We are focussing 90% on us this week and trying not to worry too much about the opposition. We played them last autumn and trained against them in the week. They are impressive athletes and are really up for this home game but we can’t wait to see how we go.”
Wales team v Canada Saturday, August 27, 5pm (9pm UK time), Wanderers Grounds, Halifax. The match will be shown live online on S4C Clic, BBC iPlayer, S4C Chwaraeon Facebook and S4C YouTube channels.
15 Kayleigh Powell (Bristol Bears)
14 Jasmine Joyce (Bristol Bears)
13 Carys Williams-Morris* (Loughborough Lightning)
12 Hannah Jones (capt) (Gloucester-Hartpury)
11. Lowri Norkett (University of Worcester Warriors)
10 Elinor Snowsill (Bristol Bears)
9 Ffion Lewis (University of Worcester Warriors)
1 Cara Hope (Gloucester-Hartpury)
2 Kat Evans (Saracens)
3. Donna Rose (Saracens)
4. Abbie Fleming (Exeter Chiefs)
5. Natalia John (University of Worcester Warriors)
6. Beth Lewis (Gloucester-Hartpury)
7. Manon Johnes (Bristol Bears)
8 Sioned Harries (University of Worcester Warriors)
16 Kelsey Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury)
17 Caryl Thomas (University of Worcester Warriors)
18 Sisilia Tuipulotu (Gloucester-Hartpury)
19 Georgia Evans (Saracens)
20 Siwan Lillicrap (Gloucester-Hartpury)
21 Eloise Hayward * (Loughborough Lightning)
22 Lleucu George (Gloucester-Hartpury)
23 Caitlin Lewis (Gloucester-Hartpury)