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Wales scrum half Keira Bevan bursts into space against France

Cunningham praises Wales character

Wales Women’s head coach Ioan Cunningham praised the character of his side who put in a gutsy second-half performance despite losing to France.

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Cunningham’s side were beaten 33-5 by one of the world’s best sides and trailed 26-0 at the interval. But to their great credit they refused to throw in the towel and the second-half was much more evenly balanced.

And the former Scarlets coach insists there’s plenty of positives to take out of Friday night’s game at the Arms Park.

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“I thought we showed tremendous character to stay in the fight,” said Cunningham. “I was really pleased that we managed to score a try at the end.  We want to be known as a side that doesn’t go away.

“We want to stay in the fight, but also it was a great opportunity to look back at that first-half where we made a lot of errors.

“I still think we are going through a bit of a transition with having self-belief, and we can actually trouble these teams who are top three in the world.

“I think we do possibly stand-off them a little bit, and are second to things like the ball on the floor. That’s something we are working towards, and it won’t take much to adjust to that.

“When we did show what we could do we actually threatened France.  We spoke half-time about going out and winning the second-half, and it was one try each so we effectively drew the second-half. We just have to look at starting games a bit better when we play against the stronger sides.”

Cunningham was also impressed by the performance of Sioned Harries who scored Wales’ only try of the night.

“I thought she finished the try very well, fair play to her,” he said. “She showed all her strengths there as a ball carrier in finding a way to the line. She’s been great, and we can all see the impact she makes whether she starts or comes off the bench for us.

“I’m just really pleased with how she’s been involved for us during this campaign.”

Wales will finish their TikTok Women’s Six Nations campaign with another home test match against Italy next weekend. Cunningham’s side have a 50 per cent winning record in this season’s competition having won their opening two games against Ireland and Scotland, respectively before slipping to defeat against both England and France.

And Cunningham is confident his side can finish their campaign on a high against a dangerous Italian outfit.

“We’ve got another tough task facing us next week. Italy are a good team, and they’ll be coming to prove a point as well. We’ve got to dust ourselves off, work hard this week, and look forward to Saturday.”

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