The Parma venue is where Wales hope to hit their goal of winning three games to clinch third place and repeat their finishing position from last season. The previous weekend they were in Grenoble, at Stade des Alpes tackling the French.
But while her teammates stayed on the continent to prepare for their Italian job, Harries headed hope to take in another major venue, Principality Stadium. Her Ysgol Bro Dur U12 team had reached the final of the ‘Road to Principality 2023’ National Girls Final and nothing was going to keep her away from that occasion.
Having headed home for three days, she then flew back into Parma to resume training on Thursday. She was promptly named in the team to face the Italians quad and will win her 74th cap in a career that began way back in the 2010 World Cup.
Wales head coach Ioan Cunningham was quick to praise his No 8, and to raise the question of how much more could be done to support the current crop of professional players.
“It’s unbelievable. Sioned is brilliant because bridging the two, teaching and playing professionally, is a challenge,” said Cunningham.
“Cara Hope is juggling her medical studies with playing at present and wasn’t able to fully commit to the programme at first. This all touches on how much further we need to go in regards to professionalism moving forward.”
Harries finally arrived in the team hotel at 2.00am on Thursday morning, ready to resume training later that day. She describes Saturday’s clash with the Azzurri as being a ‘must win’ game.
“If we can put the first half of the England game together with the second half of the French game then that will be great. What we do know is we will have to put together a full 80 minute showing to get what we want out of the game in Italy,” said Harries.
“We know what we are capable of and we need to sustain that level for longer than we have been doing. Our pack has been going very well and we know we need at least a point to be able to hold onto third place.
“We won’t just be focusing on that because we want more out of the game than that.”