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Two uncapped players start for Wales in France opener

WALES Women head coach Warren Abrahams has selected an exciting, new-look side for their Women’s Six Nations opener against France in Vannes (Saturday, 8pm, BBC iplayer).

Two uncapped players are in the starting XV – Saracens prop Donna Rose and Sale scrum-half Jess Roberts, while Sale second row Teleri Wyn Davies will make her first start for Wales in her second appearance.

Exeter scrum-half Megan Davies, who has been called up to the Six Nations squad to replace Keira Bevan, who has been ruled out with a leg injury, will also make her international debut if she comes off the bench.

There are two changes to usual international positions with Robyn Wilkins making her first Wales start at full-back and Robyn Lock set to make her international bow at hooker if she comes off the bench, having converted from backrow with her club Gloucester-Hartpury this season. Experienced prop Caryl Thomas will win her first cap since March 2019.

Abrahams said: “We’re excited to get on the pitch and show what we can do. The team is selected on form following some impressive performances in the Allianz Premier 15s. Jess gives us a great platform to execute our game plan at scrum-half, while Donna and Teleri have really impressed for their clubs and in training too.

“We have had some disappointment in terms of injuries to the likes of Keira Bevan and Kayleigh Powell in the backs but that also gives other players opportunities. Meg Davies has impressed with Exeter and is ready to take her opportunity. I’m sure full back isn’t Robyn’s preferred position but it’s something she’s prepared to do for the team.

“That is key – the team comes first. Whether you are starting, on the bench, or in the wider squad, every player knows what they need to do to ensure the team is in the best possible place for those 80 minutes.”

Abrahams says the two Welsh players in the GB Sevens set-up – Olympian Jasmine Joyce and Wales’ vice-captain Hannah Jones are raising standards in the Wales squad.

“It’s been great having those two back in the squad after the GB camps. You can see the other players are raising their game as a result of being around them and by nature, they are demanding high standards of themselves and the environment.”

Wales Women v France:

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Robyn Wilkins (Worcester Warriors); Lisa Neumann (Sale Sharks), Hannah Jones (vice-capt, Gloucester-Hartpury), Kerin Lake (Gloucester-Hartpury), Jasmine Joyce (Bristol Bears); Elinor Snowsill (Bristol Bears), Jess Roberts (Sale Sharks); Caryl Thomas (Worcester Warriors), Kelsey Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury, Donna Rose (Saracens), Gwen Crabb (Gloucester-Hartpury), Teleri Wyn Davies (Sale Sharks), Georgia Evans (Saracens), Manon Johnes (Bristol Bears), Siwan Lillicrap (capt, Bristol Bears)

Replacements: Robyn Lock (Gloucester-Hartpury), Cara Hope (Gloucester-Hartpury), Cerys Hale (Gloucester-Hartpury), Bethan Dainton (Harlequins), Natalia John (Bristol Bears), Megan Davies (Exeter Chiefs), Gemma Rowland (Bristol Bears), Courtney Keight (Bristol Bears)