WALES squad member and RAF Officer Carys Williams-Morris has received a double boost ahead of Wales’ first hit-out of the season against Canada on Saturday.

Williams-Morris, who has been in the Wales training squad since July, has been given RAF Elite Athlete Status from her employers enabling her to train full-time with Wales in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup – and confirmation from World Rugby that her birthright transfer process has been completed, enabling her to represent the land of her parents having previously gained five England caps.

The Loughborough Lightning centre, who grew up in Derby to parents Bethan and Wyn Williams who hail from Bala and Llandderfel in North Wales said, “My employers the RAF have allowed me to train and play full-time which is brilliant. They support you to have a brilliant career but also allow you to pursue your sporting goals too which was a big attraction for me joining the RAF.”

She started playing rugby for Burton aged 12 and then represented Lichfield before spells at Wasps and now Loughborough Lightning.

“Pre-season has been really tough but the environment has been really welcoming. Although I was born and brought up in England, we are a very proud Welsh family. We were brought up speaking Welsh and the whole family is thrilled that I have this opportunity with Wales.

“Having been in the England pathway growing up, I played for England U20s which, unbeknown to be at the time, prevented me from being involved with Wales later on, so when the opportunity came to play for the England senior side, I took it.

“I’d love to get my first Wales cap on the weekend. If not, England is the next opportunity and obviously to play in the world cup would be huge. I can concentrate on those goals thanks to the Elite Athlete Status and then look forward to continuing the job I love after my rugby career.

“My family are all so proud already and they have already booked flights to Canada just in case I get the call!”

Wales Women head coach Ioan Cunningham added: “Carys is already making a big contribution to our environment. She is an international athlete having been involved with England previously. It’s fantastic for her and us that the RAF have given her the Elite Athlete Status which is allowing her to progress within our set-up.”

Air Commodore Rich Fogden, Director RAF Sport, said, “We are delighted that Carys has been selected to our Elite Athlete Scheme, to enable her to reach her full potential for her club and country and bring her experience back to the Service.

“We wish her every success during the period and will be following her progress closely during this exciting time for Women’s Rugby Union.”