Wales Women make six changes to face England in Six Nations

Wales Carys Cox hands off Scotlands Rhona Lloyd during the Women's Six Nations match at Cardiff
Wales have made six changes to the side which narrowly lost to Scotland on the opening weekend of the 2024 Women's Six Nations. Credit: PA Images

Wales have made six changes to their team for their Women's Six Nations clash against England on Saturday as they look to bounce back from defeat.

Ioan Cunningham's side head into the clash at Bristol's Ashton Gate off the back of an opening-round loss to Scotland, who narrowly triumphed 20-18 at Cardiff Arms Park.

The clash against the Red Roses will be a step up in intensity, with the hosts having won the last five Women's Six Nations titles.

Sian Jones, 20, replaces Keira Bevan at scrum-half to make her full debut after an outing off the bench against the Scots.

Carys Cox is selected ahead of Nel Metcalfe on the wing, opposite Jasmine Joyce. Lleucu George retains the fly-half jersey, while captain Hannah Jones and Kerin Lake continue in midfield and former England U20s captain Jenny Hesketh makes her second Wales appearance at full-back.

Wales captain Hannah Jones leads the side Credit: PA

Hooker Carys Phillips and tighthead prop Donna Rose come into the front row in place of Kelsey Jones and Sisilia Tuipulotu to join loosehead Gwenllian Pyrs, while Georgia Evans is given the nod over Natalia John at second-row.

Kate Williams replaces Alisha Butchers at No. 6, with flanker Alex Callender and No. 8 Bethan Lewis completing the back-row.

Wales go into Saturday's game off the back of a 20-18 defeat against Scotland, after Lleucu George missed a 79th-minute conversion which could have secured a draw. England, meanwhile, beat Italy 48-0 to kickstart their title defence.

Wales have beaten England's Red Roses only twice, the last time in 2015, out of 37 meetings.

In contrast to England, who in 2019 became the first women's rugby team to become fully professional, Wales are relatively early on their pro journey, with the first round of WRU contracts handed out only two years ago and a full squad of players not turning pro until summer of 2022.

Wales head coach Cunningham said: “We have made six changes to face England in Bristol and are under no illusions of the challenge facing us.

"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.

Wales have beaten England's Red Roses only twice, the last time in 2015, out of 37 meetings. Credit: PA Images

"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, week out."

England v Wales kicks off at 4.45pm on Saturday, 30 March, at Ashton Gate in Bristol.

Wales: 15. Jenny Hesketh, 14. Jasmine Joyce, 13. Hannah Jones (capt), 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-capt), 8. Bethan Lewis.

Replacements: 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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