Rebecca de Filippo is 'coming back into top form' says Wales head coach Rhys Edwards.
Wales head coach Rhys Edwards has sprung a few surprise selections in his side which will launch the Women's Rugby World Cup bid against hosts France at Marcoussis on tomorrow evening. (KO 7.45pm UK).
Established props Jenny Davies and Catrin Edwards will start the game from the bench with Caryl Thomas and Megan York getting the nod in the front row.
In the backs Rebecca de Filippo has forced her way into the starting line-up at the expense of Robyn Wilkins at inside centre while Adi Taviner is preferred on the wing instead of Dyddgu Hywel. Both Wilkins and Hywel are on the replacements bench.
Since arriving at their Paris base on Sunday, Edwards has been impressed with the way his side have settled in to their surroundings and has selected his squad purely on form.
"We've rewarded those players who have been producing good displays over the past few weeks. There were a number of contentious positions like the front row, back row and outside backs," he said.
"There is good competition for places and we wanted to give every player an opportunity to stake their claim. The sessions in France have been of a high standard and it's also important to get the right combinations. We have rewarded players who are currently playing well," he said.
It's been a real whirlwind for winger Adi Taviner. She didn't figure in the Six Nations and was out of the game for two years until she returned to international level when returning to Welsh ranks for the World Cup warm-up games against USA and Ireland.
"Adi had already been to one World Cup and she has come in like a breath of fresh air. She is a fine example of someone who has been rewarded for showing the right intentions," explained Edwards.
"Rebecca had a quiet Six Nations, she has said that herself but she has been producing good performances and coming back into top form. She played well against Ireland and hopefully she can reproduce that against France."
Edwards is fully aware his side face a huge challenge against France who will begin the match as firm favourites.
"The game is going to be huge, we can't hide from that," he said. "It's going to be a big occasion in front of a big crowd and on television. We have to make sure we are not daunted by that and be on top of our own game and get our performance right.
"The players are relishing the chance of taking on France in their own back yard. We know where we are. Realistically France are contenders for the Cup, so they will be under their own pressure with high expectations. If we focus on our own job and do well I see no reason why we can't challenge them," he said.
Women's Rugby World Cup: Wales Women v France Women, Friday 7.45pm, Marcoussis.
15 Laurie Harries (Llandaff North)
14 Adi Taviner (Neath Athletic)
13 Elen Evans (Waterloo)
12 Rebecca de Filippo (Bristol Ladies)
11 Phil Tuttiett (Bristol Ladies)
10 Elinor Snowsill (Bristol Ladies)
9 Amy Day (Llandaff North);
8 Sioned Harries (Llandaff North)
7 Rachel Taylor (Bristol Ladies)
6 Catrina Nicholas (Llandaff North)
5 Shone Powell-Hughes (Neath Athletic)
4 Jenny Hawkins (Llandaff North)
3 Megan York (Blaenau Gwent)
2 Lowri Harries (Neath Atheletic)
1 Caryl Thomas (Bath Ladies)
The Half a Game initiative is currently sweeping across Wales and proving a major success. The scheme aims to give every young player at least half a game every weekend. WRU TV recently visited a festival in Narberth where clubs have fully embraced the initiative.
Both Bargoed and Swansea were seeking their first win of the Principality Premiership season this afternoon. It proved a fruitful day for the hosts - not only did they win, but Bargoed claimed a try bonus point.
Cardiff managed to keep their unbeaten record at home intact, but only just as Bridgend made them work extremely hard before the Blue and Blacks secured a hard fought Principality Premiership win at the BT Sport Arms Park last night.
Former Wales back row Andy Powell gives a guided tour of The Wern, home of Merthyr RFC, who are determined to prove a lot of people wrong and make their mark in their first season in the Principality Premiership.
Wales Sevens head coach Gareth Williams looks back on the Rio Sevens success where he helped GB win silver. He believes the successful campaign is a huge boost to his Welsh squad as they prepare for another World Series, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland will be heading back home to take on the All Blacks next year where for him, success for 2017 is all about going to New Zealand and winning a Test Series.
Last week all roads led to Eugene Cross Park where defending champions Ebbw Vale hosted this season's launch of the Principality Premiership. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie was there to capture the thoughts of Damien Hudd, captain of Ebbw Vale, and WRU Head of Performance, Geraint John.
Llandovery made it three in a row when they defeated Aberavon in the final of the National Foster's 7s at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday. On another eventful day of sevens, Newport claimed the Plate and the Dragons won the women's crown
Last week saw Cardiff welcome players from around the world for the 21st Golden Oldies Festival. The tournament features players over 35 years of age, and this year's event saw a select few represent the WRU in a 'friendly' against the Wooden Spoon.
Wales Under 18 captain Callum Bradbury is delighted to have seen his side claim a narrow 18-17 victory against a strong SA Schools 'A' side to end the three-match Under 19 International Series in South Africa on a high note.
The Wales U18 squad spent an emotional day in the drug-riddled townnship of Hout Bay. Hout Bay Warriors President Fred Johannes said the visit was 'the talk of the town' and will dream about the day everyday for the rest of his life.
RGC 1404's new head coach Mark Jones is hoping to build 'something special' in north Wales and is already looking forward to the development region participating in the Principality Premiership for the very first time.