Six uncapped players have been named in Wales’ squad for this Friday’s Women’s Six Nations match against Scotland in Colwyn Bay (18:00).
Four of those players are in the starting line-up, with lock Natalia John (Ospreys), openside Beth Lewis (Scarlets), scrum-half Jade Knight (Scarlets) and wing Hannah Bluck (Cardiff Blues) all set to earn their first caps in the opening game of the tournament.
In wing Jess Kavanagh-Williams and replacement forwards Gwenllian Pyrs and Teleri Davies (the latter initially named as a Development Player), there are three RGC players in the matchday squad. Scarlets back Lisa Neumann could also make her Wales debut from the bench.
Head coach Rowland Phillips says he is building for the future, and with only three of his players boasting more than 20 caps each, believes there is a new energy in the team.
“We’re beginning to see more competition for places, which is reflected in our selections for Friday,” says Phillips. “We’ve got an average age of 24, so I expect these players to be pushing each other on for many years to come. It feels like a fresh start for Wales Women and we’re looking to play some good rugby against a strong Scotland side.”
Friday’s match will be a double-header with Wales U20 – who kick off at 20:15 – at the newly-named Stadiwm Zip World (formerly Parc Eirias).
Phillips says: “I’m sure there will be a great crowd of supporters out to cheer the girls on this Friday evening in Colwyn Bay, especially with the added interest of having three players from North Wales in our side.
“That said, Wales Women owe a lot to the players and coaches that have come through the system in North Wales, so it’s only fitting that we’re able to host two games there this season. We’re very excited about being there.”
Wales Women team to face Scotland
15 Jodie Evans (Scarlets)
14 Hannah Bluck* (Cardiff Blues)
13 Kerin Lake (Ospreys)
12 Rebecca De Filippo (Dragons)
11 Jess Kavanagh-Williams (RGC)
10 Robyn Wilkins (Ospreys)
9 Jade Knight* (Scarlets)
1 Caryl Thomas (Scarlets)
2 Carys Phillips (c) (Ospreys)
3 Amy Evans (Ospreys)
4 Natalia John* (Ospreys)
5 Mel Clay (Ospreys)
6 Alisha Butchers (Scarlets)
7 Beth Lewis* (Scarlets)
8 Siwan Lillicrap (Ospreys)
16 Kelsey Jones (Ospreys)
17 Gwenllian Pyrs (RGC)
18 Cerys Hale (Dragons)
19 Teleri Davies* (RGC)
20 Nia Elen Davies (Scarlets)
21 Rhiannon Parker (Cardiff Blues)
22 Lleucu George (Scarlets)
23 Lisa Neumann* (Scarlets)