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Five Six Nations changes for Wales, including a new cap on the wing

By Liam Heagney
Wales' Carys Phillips (Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

Wales coach Ioan Cunningham has announced five changes – including one new cap – to his team to host France this Sunday in the latest round of the Guinness Six Nations.

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The Welsh were well beaten 5-36 last Saturday by Ireland in Cork and the response has been to alter four of the backline and one of the pack for the upcoming round four fixture.

Catherine Richards will make her Test debut on the wing in place of the benched Jasmine Joyne. She becomes the fifth new cap during this campaign, with fly-half Mollie Wilkinson poised to make it six off the bench.

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Full-back Kayleigh Powell has gotten the nod ahead of Jenny Hesketh to make her first start since facing New Zealand in the 2022 Rugby World Cup.

Courtney Keight is also named on the wing after impressing off the bench against England and Ireland, taking over from Kerin Lake whose midfield spot has gone to Carys Cox, last weekend’s No11.

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The fourth backline change sees Sian Jones promoted from the bench at scrum-half, with round three No9 Keira Bevan now amongst this weekend’s replacements. In the pack, Natalia John comes in at second row with Georgia Evans switching to No8 in the absence of Bethan Lewis.

In a WRU media release, Cunningham said: “France are one of the best teams in the world, they are a real force in the world game and are a major challenge for us and are favourites for this Test match.

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“We have all taken a long hard look at ourselves this week and have stripped our game back and focused on what we have to do. We have drawn a line in the sand, and we need a performance at Cardiff Arms Park.

“Playing in front of our supporters provides us with an opportunity to show who we are, and we have nothing to lose. We are a good rugby team and we have selected a squad to meet the challenge ahead of us.

“Catherine Richards has had to wait for her Wales cap and will be the fifth new cap during this campaign. She deserves her opportunity having shown what a threat she can be during the Celtic Challenge and in the PWR. Kayleigh and Courtney have impressed and made an impact when they have come on and deserve their places in the starting line-up.”

Wales (vs France Sunday): 15. Kayleigh Powell; 14. Catherine Richards, 13. Hannah Jones (capt), 12. Carys Cox, 11. Courtney Keight; 10. Lleucu George, 9. Sian Jones; 1. Gwenllian Pyrs, 2. Carys Phillips, 3. Sisilia Tuipulotu, 4. Natalia John, 5. Abbie Fleming, 6. Alisha Butchers, 7. Alex Callender (vice-capt), 8. Georgia Evans. Reps: 16. Molly Reardon, 17. Abbey Constable, 18. Donna Rose, 19. Kate Williams, 20. Gwennan Hopkins, 21. Keira Bevan, 22. Mollie Wilkinson, 23. Jasmine Joyce.

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