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Wales change six heading to England for Six Nations round two

By Liam Heagney
Wales' Hannah Jones (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Ioan Cunningham has made six changes to his Wales side for Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations round two game away to England in Bristol.

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The Welsh were pipped 18-20 by Scotland in last weekend’s opening round and the reaction has been to change two of the starting backs and four of the forwards.

Sian Jones, who made her debut off the bench against the Scots, starts her first Test match at scrum-half with Keira Bevan switching to the replacements. Carys Cox is also selected on the left wing with Nel Metcalfe this week named as the 23rd player.

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England Women’s coach John Mitchell on the Red Roses squad

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England Women’s coach John Mitchell on the Red Roses squad

There are two front row changes in the pack with Gwenllian Pyrs at hooker and Donna Rose at tighthead in place of the benched Kelsey Jones and Sisilia Tuipulotu.

Two other subs from last weekend, Georgia Evans and Kate Williams, come in at lock and blindside respectively in place of Natalia John and Alisha Butchers, who will both be replacements against the defending champions at Ashton Gate.

Fixture
Womens Six Nations
England Women's
46 - 10
Full-time
Wales Women's
All Stats and Data

In a WRU team release statement, Cunningham, said: “We have made six changes to face England in Bristol and are under no illusions of the challenge facing us. We have strength in depth in the squad and this is an opportunity for the players selected to show what they can do.

“We need to focus on what we do and we had a robust review of the Scotland game and the players identified the areas that we have to improve on for this weekend’s Test match.

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“Carys Phillips and Donna Rose know the challenge we face up front, and Georgia Evans’ made an impact when she came on against Scotland. Flanker Kate Williams has trained well and been pushing for a place and deserves an opportunity to start.

“Sian Jones is very much part of this squad and a player we believe has a big future on the international stage. Carys Cox has been selected on the wing and has impressed since we came together as a squad.

“We have some real experience on the bench, and we expect them to make an impact but we are relishing the challenge we face on Saturday. England are the benchmark side for every nation in the women’s game and we have nothing to lose against a team that won the Grand Slam last season.

“All of this Wales squad play their club rugby in England, which is recognised as the best league in the world and we know they can compete at this level and are facing players they play against and train with, week-in and week-out.”

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Wales (vs England, Saturday)
15. Jenny Hesketh; 14. Jasmine Joyce, 13. Hannah Jones (captain), 12. Kerin Lake, 11. Carys Cox; 10. Lleucu George, 9. Sian Jones; 1. Gwenllian Pyrs, 2. Carys Phillips, 3. Donna Rose, 4. Abbie Fleming, 5. Georgia Evans, 6. Kate Williams, 7. Alex Callender (vice-captain), 8. Bethan Lewis. Reps: 16. Kelsey Jones, 17. Abby Constable, 18. Sisilia Tuipulotu, 19. Natalia John, 20. Alisha Butchers, 21. Keira Bevan, 22. Kayleigh Powell, 23. Nel Metcalfe.

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3 Comments
B
Brian 113 days ago

This looks like a damage limitation exercise for Wales, keeping back some of their more effective players for the last 20/25 minutes to try and counter England’s fresh legs so the Red Roses don’t rack up a big score.

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Jon 1 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Sopoaga is going to be more than good enough to look up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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f
finn 9 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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