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Lillicrap on 50 caps and facing the Black Ferns again

By Ian Cameron
Wales captain Siwan Lillicrap Credit: World Rugby

Wales captain Siwan Lillicrap has spoken about reaching the milestone of 50 caps after earning her first cap relatively late at the age of 28.

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Now 35, Lillicrap will lead Wales as they take on the Black Ferns on Saturday in the quarter-finals of the 2021 Rugby World Cup.

“I’d never have thought I’d get to 50 caps after receiving my first cap when I did. It makes it very special indeed and a bit surreal – I don’t know where the time has gone and how I’ve managed to amass 50 caps,” said Lillicrap.

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“It’s a reflection of how far we’ve come as a squad and what we’ve been through, to achieve 50 caps is certainly something to be proud of.

“We are obviously disappointed with the result on Saturday but we’re pleased we’ve done enough to make it into the last eight and we can have another crack at the Black Ferns in their home world cup.

“The win against Scotland was obviously important in week one, as we knew it would be, and we can also be proud of the progress we’ve made to earn a losing bonus point against Australia thanks to a great defensive effort and a lot of heart. A year ago we wouldn’t have done that, even six months ago probably.”

New Zealand smashed Wales 56-12 when they met earlier in the tournament, so size of the task won’t be lost on Lillicrap and her players.

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“We know we need to put in an 80-minute performance against the Black Ferns on Saturday. We matched them in the set-piece in Auckland so we can take heart from that but we also need to take our opportunities. New Zealand will have done their homework on us now as we have on them.

“All eyes will be on the Black Ferns, there’s no pressure on us but we want to go out and do ourselves and our families proud.

“The Welsh support has been fantastic here. There is set to be a huge home crowd here in Whangarei again on Saturday. It’s a massive game. The format has changed since the last world cup. It’s knock out rugby now. To face one of the best teams in the world in their home world cup is the type of occasion we all play rugby for.”

The eight teams who have progressed through to the knockout phase, in order of their seedings, are: New Zealand, Canada, England, France, Italy, Australia, USA and Wales.

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