Rachel Taylor will lead the Welsh Women’s team into the Six Nations

Jan 14 • General News, International • 1737 Views • Comments Off on Rachel Taylor will lead the Welsh Women’s team into the Six Nations

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Rachel Taylor will again lead the Welsh Women’s team into the Six Nations with six uncapped players included among the 28-strong squad.

The campaign will also confirm the teams who qualify for the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup. England, Ireland and France have automatically qualified and the top two of the remaining teams over last season and this, will qualify for the tournament in Dublin in 2017. Wales are currently second in that qualification process, Italy leading the way with three wins and Scotland third without a win.

Alisha Butchers, Bethan Dainton, Cerys Hale, Cara Hope, Siwan Lillicrap and Rhian Nokes will all be hoping to earn their first caps during the tournament which will see Wales kick off against Ireland in Dublin, meet England at the Twickenham Stoop and host Scotland, France and Italy at The Gnoll, in Neath.

The 32-year-old north Wales-born Taylor, who went through 50 caps last year, will be looking to build on the great start her Welsh team enjoyed in the 2015 campaign when they beat England 13-0 at St Helen’s, Swansea and then Scotland 39-3 at the Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld. After that, though, they lost 28-7 in France, were beaten 20-0 by Ireland in Swansea in the Triple Crown decider and fell 22-5 in Italy to finish fifth.

“We are looking to improve on last year’s campaign and recreate the momentum we built at the start with two wins in a row. We are targeting our home games against Scotland, France and Italy and we’d love to notch our first win on English soil and make it successive victories over the world champions for the first time in our history,” said the Wales Women head coach, Rhys Edwards.

“We have a good blend of experience and some talented newcomers and all of the uncapped players have worked hard to get into the squad. Alisha Butchers has progressed from the U18 pathway and played for the Wales Sevens side in Dubai last month.

“Bethan Dainton has proved herself to be a consistent try scorer on the sevens circuit and played for Wales in all the European tournaments in 2015 and Rhian Nokes makes the national 15-a-side squad for the first time having been a mainstay of the sevens side in recent seasons.

“Cerys Hale has forced her way back into contention after missing out on a cap when she was included in the Rugby World Cup squad in 2014, Cara Hope is a product of the ever improving regional programme and Ospreys skipper Siwan Lillicrap has worked hard for her opportunity with consistently good performances.”

The squad has been pulled together from 13 different clubs with Skewen providing eight players. There are three each from Llandaff North and Pontyclun, two each from Penybanc, Bristol, Caernarfon and Maesteg Celtic and one each from Pencoed Phoenix, Whitland, Richmond, Wasps, Worcester and Blaenau Gwent-Ynysddu.

Wales Women kick-off the Six Nations against reigning champions, Ireland, in Dublin. They are also playing the Irish side, who completed the Grand Slam in 2013 for the first time, in a warm-up friendly at Ystrad Mynach on Sunday 24 January.

WALES WOMEN 2016 SIX NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP SQUAD

Backs:
Keira Bevan (Ospreys/ Skewen), Ffion Bowen (Ospreys/ Maesteg Celtic), Bethan Dainton (Dragons/ Bristol), Amy Day (Dragons / Llandaff North), Elen Evans (Scarlets / Caernarfon), Dyddgu Hywel (Scarlets/ Pontyclun), Hannah Jones (Scarlets / Penybanc), Kerin Lake (Ospreys / Skewen), Rhian Nokes (Ospreys / Maesteg Celtic), Gemma Rowland (Dragons/ Wasps), Elinor Snowshill (Dragons / Bristol), Adi Taviner (Ospreys / Skewen), Robyn Wilkins (Ospreys / Llandaff North)

Forwards:
Alisha Butchers (Scarlets/ Penybanc), Melissa Clay (Ospreys / Pencoed Phoenix), Catrin Edwards (Scarlets/ Llandaff North), Amy Evans (Ospreys / Skewen), Cerys Hale (Dragons/ Pontyclun), Sioned Harries (Scarlets/ Whitland), Cara Hope (Ospreys / Pontyclun), Siwan Lillicrap (Ospreys/ Skewen), Carys Phillips (Ospreys/ Skewen), Shona Powell-Hughes (Ospreys/ Skewen), Amy Price (Ospreys/ Skewen), Rebecca Rowe (Dragons / Richmond), Rachel Taylor (capt, Dragons/ Caernarfon), Sian Williams (Dragons / Worcester), Megan York (Dragons / Blaenau Gwent)

Wales Women Team Management:
Kathryn Pacey – Team Manager
Rhys Edwards – Head Coach
Dean Ronan – Set Piece Coach
Rhys Roberts – Defence Coach
Grant Robson – Core Skills Coach
Sam Jones – Performance Analyst
Matt Evans – Strength & Conditioning Coach
Gary Ahmed – Physio
Dr Steph Foulkes-Moran – Team Doctor

WOMEN’S 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP FIXTURES
Saturday, 6 February: Ireland v Wales (Donnybrook, Dublin – 1.00pm)
Sunday, 14 February: Wales v Scotland (The Gnoll, Neath – 2.00pm tbc)
Sunday, 28 February: Wales v France (The Gnoll, Neath – 2.00pm tbc)
Saturday, 12 March: England v Wales (Twickenham Stoop – 12.30pm)
Sunday, 20 March: Wales v Italy (The Gnoll, Neath – 2.00pm tbc)

Friendly Fixture
Sunday, 24 January: Wales v Ireland (CCB Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach – Kick off 12:00)

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