Kayleigh Powell

Wales Women name team for RWC opener

Wales Women head coach Ioan Cunningham has named his side to kick off their Rugby World Cup campaign against Scotland on Sunday.

Kayleigh Powell is named at fullback alongside former Ospreys teammate Elinor Snowsill at number 10. Up front Cara Hope and Carys Phillips are named with Natalia John in the second row. Off the bench Siwan Lillicrap, Keira Bevan and Lowri Norkett complete the former Ospreys Women contingent in the matchday 23. 

“There have been a lot of selection headaches, not only to get the squad down to 32, but to also name that first 15 and matchday 23." said Cunningham.

“Having said that, we are super excited about what lies ahead and we can’t wait to get going."

The summer Tests against the Canadians in Halifax and then England at Ashton Gate, Bristol, provided Cunningham and his coaching staff with an ideal opportunity to test out various combinations.

Armed with that knowledge and having watched his squad over the past 10 days, whilst training at their initial base in Auckland and now, some 90 miles north, in Whangarei, Cunningham has made his first big selection call.

“It was a tough decision to finalise the side," he said. "There were a lot of discussions on top of watching them in detail whilst training and how they went against Canada and England.

"But one thing we are clear on, is that it’s about the matchday 23 and not just the 15 who start on Sunday.

"It’s about how we can impact the game in different ways. We feel the starting 15 we have gone with, plus the replacements we have named are more than capable of getting the result that we need."

“Scotland are a very decent side and it will be a different game now. You can look back at that game in Six Nations but both sides have changed since that game. It is who adapts and reacts best on the day and who reacts to the occasion.

“We hope to hit the ground running and try to capitalize on the chances we make. It’s about taking every chance that comes our way. There are no second chances in what is effectively knock out rugby.”
After Sunday’s game against Scotland, Wales will return to Auckland to play New Zealand before their final pool game, back in Whangarei, against Australia.

Wales team v Scotland (5.45am UK time, live on ITV and S4C clic)

15 Kayleigh Powell

14 Jasmine Joyce

13 Megan Webb

12 Hannah Jones (capt)

11 Lisa Neumann

10 Elinor Snowsill

9 Ffion Lewis

1 Cara Hope

2 Carys Phillips

3 Donna Rose

4 Natalia John

5 Georgia Evans

6 Alisha Butchers

7 Alex Callender

8 Sioned Harries

16 Kelsey Jones

17 Caryl Thomas

18 Cerys Hale

19 Siwan Lillicrap

20 Bethan Lewis

21 Keira Bevan

22 Robyn Wilkins

23 Lowri Norkett