Wales Women head coach Rowland Phillips has made seven changes to his team for this Saturday’s Women’s Six Nations match against Ireland at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park (11:30).
Loosehead Caryl Thomas, number eight Shona Powell-Hughes, scrum-half Keira Bevan, fly-half Robyn Wilkins and wing Adi Taviner all come into the starting line-up. Two of the changes are positional, as Sioned Harries moves to the blindside, and Elen Evans goes from left wing to the right.
Wales Women are seeking to get their campaign back on track after their opening day triumph in Italy was followed by back-to-back defeats against England and Scotland.
“This has been our most difficult team selection so far,” says Phillips. “We got together for training on Saturday and certain players trained their way back into contention, which we were very happy to see.”
The team is still mourning the recent loss of Elli Norkett – to whom tributes will be paid prior to kick-off on Saturday – and Phillips acknowledges that managing the emotions on Saturday will be important. “We need to perform and keep our concentration, because we know what an emotional occasion it will be,” he says. “Elli was important to so many people. It’s fitting and right that we’ll be able to pay our respects to her on Saturday, and we’ll all be carrying our memories of her this weekend.”
Ireland Women, whom Wales beat in a friendly at Donnybrook in January, have been “building momentum for the last couple of seasons,” according to Phillips. “They are an all-round team who are able to adapt their game plan well, but we’re only focused on getting back to playing to our strengths in front of what I’m sure will be another great home crowd in Cardiff.”
Wales Women team to face Ireland Women
15 Dyddgu Hywel (Scarlets)
14 Elen Evans (Scarlets)
13 Kerin Lake (Ospreys)
12 Rebecca de Filippo (Newport Gwent Dragons)
11 Adi Taviner (Ospreys)
10 Robyn Wilkins (Ospreys)
9 Keira Bevan (Ospreys)
1 Caryl Thomas (Scarlets)
2 Carys Phillips (c) (Ospreys)
3 Amy Evans (Ospreys)
4 Rebecca Rowe (Newport Gwent Dragons)
5 Mel Clay (Ospreys)
6 Sioned Harries (Scarlets)
7 Rachel Taylor (Scarlets)
8 Shona Powell-Hughes (Ospreys)
16 Lowri Harries (Scarlets)
17 Cerys Hale (Newport Gwent Dragons)
18 Gwenllian Pyrs (Scarlets)
19 Siwan Lillicrap (Ospreys)
20 Alisha Butchers (Scarlets)
21 Rhiannon Parker (Cardiff Blues)
22 Elinor Snowsill (Newport Gwent Dragons)
23 Gemma Rowland (Newport Gwent Dragons)
Tickets for Wales Women v Ireland Women are available here. The game will be shown live on S4C.
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