WALES Women head coach Rowland Phillips has named a 35-strong squad for his side’s five matches in November – their biggest autumn series to date. Hooker Carys Phillips will continue to captain the squad which includes 14 uncapped players.
Wales begin the series with three away matches – against Spain, Ireland and Scotland before returning to Wales for the first match against a women’s Crawshay’s team coached by new WRU Council Member Liza Burgess and the first professional female coach in Wales – Rachel Taylor.
That game will take place at Eugene Cross Park, Ebbw Vale on Saturday, November 23, and Taylor will also be part of the opposition coaching team a week later for Wales Women’s first match against the Barbarians in the Principality Stadium double header.
Phillips said: “Our focus hasn’t changed. We are already qualified for the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup and our key aim is to build a squad of young players with significant experience under their belts.
“This autumn series is a huge opportunity to do that. All players will gain from the experience of travelling away for three testing encounters against Spain, Ireland and Scotland – all of whom still need to qualify for the World Cup. And to be part of two historic encounters in Wales at the end of November against the Crawhshay’s and Barbarians is something we will all look forward to and enjoy.
“We finished the Six Nations on a high with a dramatic win over Scotland and then a pleasing win and performance against Ireland and we want to build on that momentum this season.
“There is excellent quality coming through – that was evident in the regional programme again this summer and some of those players are rewarded with squad places today. We have a responsibility to continue to develop those players, maximise their potential and also manage them well. We will expose them to an international environment and give them game time when ready. The likes of Lauren Smyth, Manon Johnes, Alex Callender and Gwen Crabb all earned their first caps last autumn and have gone on to become key players in the squad. The opportunity is there for others to do the same if they apply themselves.
“We are clear on where we need to develop to become consistently competitive. There’s a better understanding now from players of what is required of an international player in terms of fitness, skill levels, attitude and everything else that goes with being an international rugby player.
“We aren’t looking beyond the first game. Spain are making significant progress and will provide a tough challenge especially on their home turf. We are looking forward to locking horns with our Six Nations adversaries Ireland and Scotland who both have a point to prove and we want to engage as many home fans as possible in our journey and be part of our home matches at Ebbw Vale at Principality Stadium.”
WRU international skills coaches Geraint Lewis and Chris Horsman have joined Rowland Phillips and Gareth Wyatt in the Wales Women coaching set-up and will provide specialised input throughout the autumn campaign.
Phillips welcomed the addition of the former Wales international forwards. “Geraint and Chris are excellent coaches. With their wealth of experience working with young international players, they understand the need to adapt styles and management skills accordingly. It’s hugely encouraging for the women’s programme to become a more integrated part of the WRU performance structure. I know I’ve learned a lot from coaching female athletes and Chris and Geraint have already shown they will add value to the programme.”
Wales Women autumn series squad:
Forwards: (5 uncapped*)
Alex Callender (Scarlets), Gwen Crabb (Ospreys), Amy Evans (Ospreys), Georgia Evans* (Cardiff Blues), Abbie Fleming* (Cardiff Blues), Cerys Hale (Cardiff Blues),
Sioned Harries (Scarlets), Cara Hope (Ospreys), Jordan Hopkins* (Cardiff Blues), Gwenllian Jenkins* (Scarlets), Natalia John (Ospreys), Manon Johnes (Cardiff Blues), Kelsey Jones (Ospreys), Bethan Lewis (Scarlets), Siwan Lillicrap (Ospreys), Robyn Lock* (Ospreys), Carys Phillips (Ospreys), Gwenllian Pyrs (RGC)
Backs: (9 uncapped*)
Keira Bevan, (Ospreys), Angharad Desmet* (Scarlets), Alecs Donovan (Ospreys), Lleucu George (Scarlets), Courtney Keight* (Ospreys), Kerin Lake (Ospreys), Caitlin Lewis* (Scarlets), Ffion Lewis (Scarlets), Rebekah O’Loughlin* (Cardiff Blues), Kayleigh Powell* (Ospreys), Paige Randall* (Cardiff Blues), Catherine Richards* (Cardiff Blues), Lauren Smyth (Ospreys), Elinor Snowsill Ospreys), Niamh Terry* (Ospreys), Megan Webb* (Cardiff Blues), Robyn Wilkins (Cardiff Blues)
Wales Women fixtures November 2019:
Spain v Wales Women, Estadio Nacional Computense, Madrid, Sunday, November 3, 12.45pm local time
Ireland v Wales Women, The Bowl, UCD, Dublin, Sunday, November 10, 1pm
Scotland v Wales Women, Glasgow, Sunday, November 17, 3pm
Crawshay’s v Wales Women, Eugene Cross Park, Ebbw Vale Saturday, November 23, 2.30pm
Wales Women v Barbarians Saturday, November 30, Principality Stadium 11.45am
Tickets for the Barbarians double-header on sale via wru.wales/tickets
Cup wins for Ammanford teams
AMMANFORD reached the next round of the SWCA T20 Knockout Cup by beating Carmarthen Wanderers by 6 wickets with 2 overs to spare.
Wanderers batted first and reached 91 for 9, thanks mainly to Tom Davies (37) and Iestyn Scourfield (23).
For Ammanford, Matthew Fisher picked up 3 for 17 while Owen Davies and Callum Croft bagged a couple each.
Ammanford took just 18 overs to overhaul the Carmarthen total for the loss of four wickets.
Josef Davies top-scored with 35, helped by Rhodri Davies (16) and Matthew Fisher (22no).
Ammanford’s third XI defeated Llanelli seconds by 82 runs in the SWCA Intermediate Cup at the Park on Sunday.
Batting first, Ammanford scored a creditable 144 for 7 from their 20 overs.
Steffan Wyn Williams top-scored with 41, whilst other contributions came from David Lumb (21) Sam Potter (17) and Neville Pritchard (29no).
Llanelli could only manage 62 for 6 in reply, Sam Potter picking up two wickets for 10 runs.
Ammanford lose again to Newport but seconds win
AMMANFORD slipped to the bottom of Premier One with a 20 run defeat to Newport in another high-scoring match at the Park.
Ammanford skipper Alun Evans looked to have made the right decision when he invited Newport to bat and promptly took the wicket of opener Morgan Bevans with the score on 1.
That was as far as their luck went, though. The next wicket didn’t fall for another 130 runs as Michael Clayden (58) and Callum Taylor (93) made the most of a friendly batting track.
A further setback for the home team took the shape of Mujahid Ilyas who blasted a rapid 68 which included 6 sixes.
Newport closed on a forbidding 277 for 5.
Forbidding, but not impossible.
Ammanford got off to their best start for several seasons as Alun Evans (73) and Matthew Fisher took the opening stand to 185.
When Fisher fell for a terrific 112, Ammanford still needed 90 runs at ten an over, and despite a quickfire unbeaten 41 from Dan Roberts, couldn’t make up the rate.
When Evans was dismissed for 73, that signalled the end of Ammanford’s challenge and they fell short of their target by 20 runs.
Ammanford have now scored 516 runs in their last two matches without a win.
Next week they face another tough trip as they travel to league leaders St Fagans.
Ammanford second XI
AMMANFORD seconds recorded their first win of the season with a well-earned victory at Gorseinon.
Put in to bat, Ammanford scored 204 for 6. Openers Adam Lyons (44) and Callum Croft (58) gave them a great start while number three Fin Jeffries chipped in with 22.
Gorseinon could only manage 179 in reply, opener Jamie Hill being their top scorer with 48.
Fin Jeffries turned in a good bowling performance with 4 for 38, supported by Iestyn Jones and Jac Davies with a couple each.
The victory enabled Ammanford to leap-frog Gorseinon off the foot of the table.
Ammanford well beaten by Port Talbot
AMMANFORD slipped closer to the foot of Premier One with a high-scoring defeat to Port Talbot Town at The New Mansel.
Ammanford were put in to bat on a glorious afternoon and made hay while the sun shone with an opening partnership of 61 between Matthew Fisher and Alun Evans.
When Fisher departed for 40, Daniel Evans took over and his partnership with his skipper took the score to 155 before Roberts was caught on 49.
When Evans fell for an anchoring 86, the Davies brothers, Rhodri (28no) and Rhys (22no) saw out the Ammanford innings, taking their total to a formidable 259 for 4.
Formidable it may have been, but Port Talbot’s batsmen were up to the challenge.
Glamorgan’s Nick Selman led the charge before he was dismissed by Fisher for 47.
The main partnership of 123, however, came between Joseph Voke (84) and Matthew Thompson (74no).
There were still three overs remaining when Port Talbot cruised past the Ammanford total for the loss of 3 wickets.
Things won’t get much easier for Ammanford next week when Newport visit the Park.
Ammanford seconds v Ynystawe
Ammanford seconds continued their miserable sequence of defeats with a 4 wicket loss to Ynystawe at the Park.
A promising start from Eirian Morgan (13) and David Lumb (17) preceded a middle order collapse which was rescued by a terrific individual performance from captain Jamie Evans, whose 76 helped Ammanford reach 167 all out.
Ynystawe’s middle order by contrast kept the scoreboard ticking over, an undefeated partnership between Rowan Evans (31no) and Arun Maurya (26no) taking them past Ammanford’s total with four wickets and 16 overs to spare.
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