Ireland Women v Wales Women
Saturday 2nd Feb (kick off 7pm)Thomond Park, Limerick
Wales will be keen to build on their impressive autumn performances against both Canada and the USA in Limerick where only a victory will be good enough for coaches John Williams and Tony Robbins.
Having lost Captain Rhian Williams for both the Six Nations and World Cup with a broken fibia, flanker Melissa Berry wears the armband for the first time. Berry, only 20 years of age, hails from Swansea and is currently a student at St. Marys College in Twickenham.
Not only does Berry have the captaincy to contend with, she also finds herself reverting back to her old position of inside centre as the coaches attempt to fill the hole left by injured captain Williams. Kylie Wilson from Bangor is promoted from the replacement bench to take Berry's position on the flank.
Sue Grainger keeps her position in the second row despite the return to fitness of Clare Donovan and Ronnie Owens wins the battle for the No 9 shirt with Kerry Jenkins on the bench and last season's first choice, Cath Walkley, finds herself relegated to the 'A' team.
Louise Rickard and Sue Jones swap places with Rickard, winning her 50th cap, back in her preferred position of outside centre. Naomi Thomas makes her Six Nations debut as a full back having previously starred on the wing, a change which does not worry Director of Rugby Richard Hodges:
" Naomi has impressed in training and deserves her opportunity in the 15 shirt. She represents the future of this team along with the likes of Melissa Berry and Awen Thomas and they must be thrown in now if they are to gain the experience necessary to succeed in the World Cup."
Coach Williams is aware of how important victory is: " We must win on Saturday. Ireland have improved but we target this as a must win game so we are ready for the French in Bridgend on February 15th. We beat the Irish 15-10 last season and they will fancy their chances but if we build on our performances in the autumn we should return victorious."
15 NAOMI THOMAS14 CLAIRE FLOWERS 13 LOUISE RICKARD12 MELISSA BERRY (CAPT) 11 SUE JONES 10 AWEN THOMAS 9 RONNIE OWENS
1 DAWN MASON 2 JAMIE KIFT 3 KATH LENAGHAN 4 SUE GRAINGER 5 LIZA BURGESS 6 KYLIE WILSON 7 PIP MINTO 8 APRIL DENT
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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.
A joint venture between the WRU and Admiral saw hundreds of children enjoy the Admiral Festival of Rugby held at the National Centre of Excellence at the weekend where Welsh internationals Sam Warburton, Scott Williams and Rob Evans were in attendance.
Wll Jones leads Wales U18s into battle this afternoon against Italy where the Welsh side will be seeking to bounce back from their narrow defeat to SA Schools in their opening clash of the U19 International Series
All four regions attended a successful training camp staged last weekend at the WRU National Centre of Excellence. It was a chance for new Wales Women's head coach Rowland Phillips to deliver his key messages to players and coaches as he prepares for the new season.
Wales U18 Team Manager Gethin Watts believes the next couple of weeks will be 'extremely beneficial' to the future of Welsh rugby as his side prepare to take part in the Under 19 International Series being staged in South Africa.
The WRU is searching for 12 new rugby development apprentices following a successful first year of its WRU Coach Core programme. Craig Duncan and Jess Hancock have flourished in the first year of the programme which has given them a real direction in their lives.
The WRU signed TV comedian Rhod Gilbert up to a 'Coaching Children Level 1' course before letting him loose on an U8s side at Whitland Junior Borderers - we went behind the scenes to film the making of 'Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience' see the results here.
Llandovery are aiming to make it three titles in a row in this year's Foster's National 7s being held at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday 28 August. Drovers assistant coach Simon Davies and Lee Rees assess their sides chances
A pioneering strength and conditioning programme has been delivered to more than 8000 boys and girls at hub schools throughout Wales this season, helping to develop stronger, more flexible athletes for rugby and other sports.
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series returns to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on July 22nd when all four Welsh regions go head to head. Scarlets skills coach Dai Flanagan and Blues Elite Performance Pathway Manager Richard Hodges along with current Welsh squad members were at the launch of this season's event