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)
Coach Richard Hodges is hoping Wales U20 can put a disappointing campaign behind them when they tackle Japan tomorrow as they look to finish the U20 Championship strongly to secure a good seeding for next year's tournament.
Wales U20 coach Richard Hodges is targeting three wins from three games in the Under 20 Championship after suffering defeat to England on Saturday. However, as WRU TV's Liz Jones discovers, he is concerned about the threat Japan pose tomorrow.
Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards is looking for physical and mental toughness from the 47-man World Cup training squad which was revealed yesterday and he added he is looking forward to seeing which players are prepared to dig the deepest.
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.
It was a case of 'mission accomplished' for Sian Williams and her teammates after Wales Women moved one step closer of joining the Women's Sevens World Series after finishing seventh in the European Grand Prix Series on Sunday in Malemort, France.
The countdown to the Junior World Championships starts in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We speak to WRU U20 coaching co-ordinator Allan Lewis and captain Rory Thornton. We speak to the winning teams at SWALEC Finals Day, Wales Sevens manager Steffan Thomas and Wales women's rugby manager Caroline Spanton.