Hooker Carys Phillips (pictured) will continue to lead from the front as captain as Wales prepare to tackle four-time champions New Zealand, 2014 runners-up Canada and Hong Kong in Pool A at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017.

"There's a tremendous amount of excitement within the squad for those pool games," said head coach Rowland Phillips. "There's a real enthusiasm amongst the team about facing two of the top nations in the game, because you play international rugby in order to compete against the best."

Warm-up matches against Japan, Spain and England have given Wales confidence heading into the biggest edition of the tournament to date.

"The improvement in performance over those three fixtures is a reflection of the hard work that the players have put in to improve key areas of our game,” Phillips added.


While several of Wales' players have featured in the previous two Women's Rugby World Cups, Phillips insists that wasn't a deciding factor in their selection.

"Having experience amongst the squad is valuable, but more important is the fact that our selections are based on merit. We started with a squad of 50, which had to be whittled down to 28, so there's inevitably going to be disappointment for some players. Our job as coaches is to make sure that we've made the right decisions."

"Avoir cette expérience dans l'équipe est quelque chose d'essentiel, mais le plus important est que la sélection s'est surtout faite au mérite."

Rowland Phillips, entraîneur du Pays de Galles

Winger Jasmine Joyce was part of the Great Britain team that finished fourth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, while Elen Evans, Sioned Harries, Shona Powell-Hughes, Elinor Snowsill, Rachel Taylor and Caryl Thomas are set to feature in their third Women's Rugby World Cup. In contrast, 17-year-old back rower Lleucu George could be in line to gain her first full cap for Wales.

"Lleucu's inclusion highlights the value of our warm-up matches," commented Phillips, who admits selection was also determined with an eye on Women's Rugby World Cup 2021. "She was outstanding in the game against Japan, and showed some natural qualities that we are trying to develop.

"We've given new players opportunities over the past few weeks, and she's one who's grasped them with both hands. Physically, she's more than capable enough to deal with the rigours of international rugby, which is impressive for someone so young, but we'll be smart with how we manage her."

Wales squad 

Forwards: Alisha Butchers, Mel Clay, Amy Evans, Lleucu George, Cerys Hale, Sioned Harries, Morfudd Ifans, Kelsey Jones, Siwan Lillicrap, Carys Phillips (captain), Shona Powell-Hughes, Gwenllian Pyrs, Rebecca Rowe, Rachel Taylor, Caryl Thomas, Megan York.

Backs: Keira Bevan, Elen Evans, Jodie Evans, Rebecca De Filippo, Dyddgu Hywel, Hannah Jones, Jasmine Joyce, Sian Moore, Jess Kavanagh-Williams, Gemma Rowland, Elinor Snowsill, Robyn Wilkins.