Debutants Jasmine Joyce and Rhiannon Parker are two of the four changes to the Wales Women starting team for today’s (Friday 24 February) Women’s Six Nations match against Scotland at Broadwood Stadium (18:20).
Wing Joyce, who starred for Team GB at last year’s Rio Olympics, scored two tries for Wales Women in an uncapped victory against Spain last month. She is joined in the starting team by scrum-half Parker, whilst Rebecca de Filippo returns from injury to start at inside centre for the first time in the tournament.
Cerys Hale earns the starting shirt at loosehead prop in the only change to the forward pack, for a game that head coach Rowland Phillips is targeting as an opportunity to regain momentum, following a heavy defeat last time out to England.
“The response of the players following the England match has been outstanding. From the Sunday following that game, our focus immediately moved on to Scotland,” says Phillips. “Scotland’s last two performances in the competition – losing to a last-minute play from Ireland and being very competitive in the first 20 minutes against France – shows how much they have improved this season. We will need to be ready for this challenge.”
Of the new caps in the team, Phillips says: “Jasmine and Rhiannon are two talented individuals who have been in and around the squad for a while now, and we feel the way they’ve performed in the warm-up games and in training has earnt them this opportunity.”
Openside flanker Rachel Taylor this week spoke of the team’s pride at playing in front of a record, 4000-plus crowd at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, and Phillips acknowledges that a positive result in Scotland should see another strong crowd in the capital city for the visit of Ireland Women on Saturday 11th March.
“We can’t thank our supporters enough for the way they’ve backed the team. It was an incredible day in Cardiff for the England match and, despite the result, they made it a special occasion,” says Phillips. “If we can perform the way we know we can against Scotland, we’ve got it all to play for when we welcome Ireland a fortnight later.”
Wales Women will face Scotland Women at Broadwood Stadium this Friday night at 18:20. The game will be streamed live on the BBC Sport Online. Tickets for Wales Women’s next home match, against Ireland Women (Saturday 11th March) at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, are available here.
Wales Women to face Scotland Women
15 Dyddgu Hywel (Scarlets)
14 Jasmine Joyce (Scarlets)*
13 Kerin Lake (Ospreys)
12 Rebecca de Filippo (Newport Gwent Dragons)
11 Elen Evans (Scarlets)
10 Elinor Snowsill (Newport Gwent Dragons)
9 Rhiannon Parker (Cardiff Blues)*
1. Cerys Hale (Newport Gwent Dragons)
2. Carys Phillips (c) (Ospreys)
3. Amy Evans (Ospreys)
4. Rebecca Rowe (Newport Gwent Dragons)
5. Mel Clay (Ospreys)
6. Alisha Butchers (Scarlets)
7. Rachel Taylor (Scarlets)
8. Sioned Harries (Scarlets)
16 Lowri Harries (Scarlets)
17 Gwenllian Pyrs (Scarlets)
18 Caryl Thomas (Scarlets)
19 Siwan Lillicrap (Ospreys)
20 Nia Elen Davies (Cardiff Blues)
21 Sian Moore (Newport Gwent Dragons)
22 Robyn Wilkins (Ospreys)
23 Gemma Rowland (Newport Gwent Dragons)
*Denotes new caps
Report courtesy of Welsh Rugby Union via Women’s Six Nations