WALES Women head coach Ioan Cunningham has spoken about the prospect of the two mouth-watering home matches for the side in next season’s TikTok Women’s Six Nations after the fixtures were announced.
The fixtures are a mirror image of last season’s matches with Wales kicking off their campaign against Ireland but this time at home (Saturday, March 25). They then travel to Scotland before welcoming champions England to Wales on Saturday, April 15.
They complete the Championship with two away games against France and Italy.
The tournament retains its stand-alone slot in March and April following the increased profile and coverage of the 2022 edition.
Match attendance records were broken each week, there was a 62% increase on 2019 crowds (Pre-Covid) and TV viewing figures were up 64%. Fans will have access to all the matches on live TV and through video highlights throughout the 2023 Championship as the tournament looks to build on the unprecedented TV audiences of 2022.
Cunningham, who is currently in Halifax, Nova Scotia, preparing the side to play Canada on Saturday said: “It’s going to be fantastic for us to kick off with a big game at home against Ireland and then obviously to have England at home too will be another huge occasion for everyone to get behind.”
Last season, Wales kicked off with an away win over Ireland in Dublin.
“Momentum is key in the Six Nations, if you can get a first win under your belt then it really gives you a springboard into the competition. We did that this year, we had a good win away from home and backed it up at home in Cardiff so it’s all about that start.
“We will be looking to build on last year’s performances but we are well aware it will be a tougher challenge this time around. Everyone has raised their standards with contracts and more full-time opportunities so the level is going up every year.
“Obviously we play Scotland in the World Cup in October and it won’t be too long before we face again in March so it’s exciting times but we’ve got to keep getting better.”
Wales’ TikTok Women’s Six Nations fixtures (Venues and ticket info to follow):
Wales v Ireland Saturday 25 March 2.15pm
Scotland v Wales Saturday 1 April 5.30pm
Wales v England Saturday 15 April 5.30pm
France v Wales Sunday 23 April 3.15pm
Italy v Wales Saturday 29 April 3.30pm
Wales continued their preparations for this Saturday’s Test with a joint training session against the hosts in Halifax.
Cunningham added: “The exercise was excellent for us, we got so much learning from it which is exactly what we want we wanted.
“We got some tough lessons but we also saw some of the good work that’s been put in over the last four or five weeks which was pleasing to see in different circumstances.
“The players haven’t had any live rugby apart from against each other in the past few months so it was great to get out of our comfort zones against players you don’t meet every day. That was the purpose for us. We know we have to raise our game for Saturday for sure, that was clear to see. The level of athlete that the Canada have got is impressive which makes Saturday’s challenge exciting.”