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Jones overjoyed at professional contract

Wales international Hannah Jones at the Principality Stadium as the Welsh Rugby Union announce the first 12 full time contracts for Women international players

Jones overjoyed at professional contract

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Hannah Jones has revealed her joy at becoming one of 12 professional female players in Wales, and is confident Ioan Cunningham’s side will slowly start to see better results.

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The Wales Women’s centre has been a lynchpin of the side for a number of seasons, and is joined by Alisha Butchers, Natalia John, Siwan Lillicrap, Carys Phillips, Gwenllian Pyrs, Donna Rose, Keira Bevan, Jasmine Joyce, Ffion Lewis, Lisa Neumann, and Elinor Snowsill as players who have turned professional. And Gloucester-Hartpury star Jones, has revealed she was ecstatic when she got given the news.

“I was really shocked but really happy,” said Jones. “At the time I was told I was with my family so we got told we could tell our close friends and family.

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“I was really excited. As clichéd as it sounds, it is a dream come true for me. It was Ioan Cunningham, who told me. He phoned me and offered me the contract.

“We had a couple of days then to read through the contract, and whether to accept or decline so it was really exciting. I was shaking when he phoned me. I said yes straight away.

“It’s a dream come true. I’ve been waiting for this for a long while.

“I had a little bit of a taste of going full time with Great Britain. I’m very lucky, and very honoured to have a Welsh contract.

“It’s a massive privilege.” The Women’s game in Wales has been steadily building for a number of years now, but this week’s announcement is a watershed moment in its history.

Jones believes it will take time to see the benefits of having a solid number of professional players, but is confident this decision will take the game to the next level over time. “We’ll see steady but slow improvement,” she said.

“We’ve got the time now. Girls are not in full time work, we aren’t tired, and there’s more time to recover.

“You’ve got that contact time with the coach, you’ve got more time to deal with your skills, focus on your nutrition. So, I think fitness wise, and body fat, that type of area and skills there’ll definitely be an improvement going through to the Six Nations.”

Life is about to change dramatically for the girl from the Amman Valley who is studying to become a teacher. It is going to be a juggling act studying and being a full time professional athlete, but she is relishing her change of circumstances.

“To be fair the university, Cardiff Met have been really supportive,” she said. “As soon as I told them I had been offered this contract they said go for it.

“Not many people get this opportunity, you are young, and you can go back to teaching any day. I was pretty landed I had that response. Once you have a gap we’ll fill you in somewhere, and I’ll be a qualified teacher then.”

“My partner has opened up an ice cream parlour so I was helping him with that. My last couple of weeks before coming into training was actually working in an ice cream shop.

“Mondays and Tuesdays we are in at 8.30am. We’ve got gym, and rugby. On that Tuesday we leave in the afternoon after doing some rugby and skills to go to club.

“It’s the same on the Thursday, and then Friday we are back in for analysis or some skills, and a light gym session before playing on a Saturday. But we’ve got the time in the afternoons to recover. We’ve got Wednesdays and Sundays off so it’s individualised.”

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