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Lillicrap looking for honesty and change

Siwan Lillicrap leads by example in France

Lillicrap looking for honesty and change

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Wales skipper Siwan Lillicrap says her players will take a long, hard look at themselves after their Six Nations opener in Vannes ended in an eight try, 53-0 defeat to France.

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Wales host Ireland at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday, 10 April and Lillicrap is sure the lessons learned against the French will put her team in a better position to compete against the Irish in round two of this season’s streamlined tournament.

“There was plenty of spirit, effort and positive attitude,  but it was a difficult evening. What we must do now is trust the process and our systems and take a look at ourselves,” said Lillicrap.

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“That type of scoreline is tough to accept, and there is no hiding from that. There is a lot of emotion in the squad.

“We have to trust in what Warren (Abrahams) and the management are trying to bring in because it is exciting and it is a change. Things don’t happen overnight and we will learn from this and take a good honest look in the mirror and fix things ahead of next week.

“There are a few things in defence we can fix this week. We fixed our scrum in the game, but we can’t afford lapses of concentration.

“We have got to front up and get a platform to give ourselves some opportunities to attack against Ireland. The positive thing is we saw glimpses of that, but the challenge is to find a way to move forward and be consistent with it.

“I am proud of the girls and the effort. Now we have to concentrate on Ireland and fight to get a top end finish on ‘Super Saturday’. It is going to be a huge game.

“The main message is we have got to learn from this. The main focus is how we put things right for next week.

“Things don’t change overnight, just look at the men’s team this year from last. We have to trust what Warren is bringing to the squad and buy into it because it is a fresh style.

“Things have been hard with the pandemic, but the unity and culture within the squad, and how close we are as a group of players, is like never before. It is so important we stick together and keep fighting and believing so we can see a change.

“We didn’t want a score like that and there is nobody more gutted than us. We will take a long, hard look at ourselves and we will be back fighting next week, I can assure you of that.”

It wasn’t the result hat Abrahams was hoping for in his first game as the Welsh team’s head coach, but he saw enough encouraging signs to give him hope for the game against the Irish.

“The French played some pretty incredible stuff and we congratulate them for theat. There were some incredible moments for us, but also some lessons to be learned,” said Abrahams.

“If we want to compete against the best teams in the world then we have got to go back to the drawing board and step things up. But the effort and attitude was outstanding.

“Look at the adaptation in the scrum and how we held them up twice and got some turn-overs in the dying minutes. We wanted them to be brave and they kept on fighting.

“It was a pretty disappointing changing room because none of us want to lose. We didn’t get the go-forward we wanted, but if we can get our consistency right we can definitely compete at this level.

“We learned some tough lessons, but we are at the start of our journey. The most important thing is to keep on believing in our systems and ourselves. We’ve got time on our side, we will keep building, stay patient and we will get it right.

“We knew France were going to be tough because they have proven themselves over a number of years. The squad is in a great place. We know where we are in our journey and we will keep building.”

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