THE Wales Women coaching team for the three-match autumn series have selected a squad of 36 to face Japan, South Africa and Canada next month.
Siwan Lillicrap captains the squad which contains six uncapped players – forwards Kat Evans (Saracens), Liliana Podpadec (Llandaff North) and Madi Johns (Porth Harlequins) and backs Jade Mullen (Harlequins), Leanne Burnell (Pontyclun Falcons) and Flo Williams (Wasps). Kat and Jade were part of the Wales Sevens Rugby Europe squad in the summer while Flo was an uncapped member of last season’s Six Nations squad.
Geraint Lewis and Ioan Cunningham are jointly leading the interim coaching team which also includes Richard Whiffin as attack coach and World Rugby coaching intern Sophie Spence.
Forwards coach Geraint Lewis said, “We feel we have a good mix of new and experienced players which will provide competition within the squad which is always healthy in international sport in order to improve performances and results.
“Many Welsh players have been performing well for their Allianz Premier 15s clubs and it’s also been good to see women’s club rugby return following 18 months of stoppages in Wales. Club performances and a productive senior Talent ID Day have provided the opportunity for players to force their way into this squad for the forthcoming campaign which will test them at a higher level.
“As is always the case in international rugby, there were some difficult calls with some players missing out but many of those individuals have already shown a determination to work hard for another chance to wear the jersey. There’s a lot to play for in the next year and this is the start of that journey.”
Defence and scrum coach Ioan Cunningham added, “We are looking forward to these home internationals and testing ourselves against three teams who will test the group in different ways, with a variety of styles and structures. That is just what is required a year out from Rugby World Cup.”
Wales Women autumn squad:
Forwards: Siwan Lillicrap (capt), Alisha Butchers, Alex Callender, Bethan Dainton, Kat Evans, Cerys Hale, Cara Hope, Gwen Crabb, Abbie Fleming, Georgia Evans, Natalia John, Madi Johns, Manon Johnes, Molly Kelly, Bethan Lewis, Robyn Lock, Liliana Podpadec, Gwenllian Pyrs, Donna Rose, Caryl Thomas
Backs: Keira Bevan, Leanne Burnell, Hannah Jones, Jasmine Joyce, Jess Kavanagh, Courtney Keight, Kerin Lake, Caitlin Lewis, Ffion Lewis, Jade Mullen, Lisa Neumann, Elinor Snowsill, Niamh Terry, Flo Williams, Megan Webb, Robyn Wilkins
Tickets are now on sale for Wales Women’s autumn games via www.wru.wales/waleswomen
Wales Women autumn series (please note confirmed kick-off times)
Sunday, November 7 – 5pm Wales Women v Japan
Saturday, November 13 – 12.15pm Wales Women v SA
Sunday, November 21 – 5pm Wales Women v Canada
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