Wales are ranked six in the world rankings and qualified for the WXV1 competition for the six best teams in the world, including World Cup winners, the Black Ferns, Grand Slam winners, England, France, Australia and Canada.
Centre Hannah Jones will captain the squad made up of the bulk of the Wales squad which won three games in the 2023 Six Nations following wins against Ireland, Scotland and Italy. Flanker Bethan Lewis is vice-captain and the squad selected has 16 forwards and 14 backs split for the showcase tournament.
Wales will open their WXV campaign against Canada in Wellington before they face New Zealand in Dunedin and Australia in Auckland.
Wing Jasmine Joyce, flanker Alisha Butchers, prop Donna Rose and centre Meg Web are all and return to New Zealand after featuring in the World Cup in 2022. New caps Carys Cox and Nel Metcalfe are selected after featuring in the recent Test match against USA in Colwyn Bay.
Wales prepared for the WXV with a first Test match win over the USA, scoring six tries in the 38-18 victory at the Stadiwm CSM in Colwyn Bay.
Ioan Cunningham, the Wales Head coach, said: “We have chosen the 30 players who will make history and represent Wales in the first WXV tournament to be played in New Zealand in October. We are under no illusions of the task ahead of us, but we are relishing the opportunity to play our part in this exciting new competition.
“As a squad, coaches and staff, we are excited to test ourselves against the best in the world and to measure our progress and to see how far we have come. The WXV is innovative development for rugby and provides us with another tournament to measure our progress ahead of the 2025 World Cup.
“We have had a tough pre-season and the squad has been tested physically and mentally and made real strides. This group of players has a real appetite for hard work, and we are ready for the challenges ahead.
“Our performance in the 38-18 win in Colwyn Bay was another step in the right direction with a first victory over the USA. We showed some real physicality against a side which prides itself on what it brings in that facet of the game.
“To have the likes of Jaz, Butch, Donna and Meg back after a year gives a real boost and having their experience in the squad adds real quality to the squad. Carys and Nel have impressed since they have been with us and fully deserve their opportunity to play for Wales in the WXV.
“The selection process has been the toughest so far and we know the depth of the squad will be important to us as we play three Test matches in three weeks. It’s a demanding schedule but we are in a good place and looking forward to the challenge.
“We know the only way we improve as a squad is by playing the best in the world and the Welsh supporters can be assured, we are determined to represent them and Wales on the world stage. This squad inspired the nation during the recent Six Nations, and we intend to do the nation proud out in New Zealand.”
Wales squad for WXV:
Forwards: Gwenllian Pyrs, Abbey Constable, Kelsey Jones, Carys Phillips, Kat Evans, Sisilia Tuipulotu, Donna Rose, Cerys Hale, Abbie Fleming, Georgia Evans, Alisha Butchers, Bryonie King, Alex Callender, Kate Williams, Beth Lewis (VC), Sioned Harries.
Backs: Jasmine Joyce, Nel Metcalfe, Lisa Neumann, Hannah Jones (capt), Carys Cox, Meg Webb, Kerin Lake, Hannah Bluck, Carys Williams-Morris, Lleucu George, Robyn Wilkins, Niamh Terry, Keira Bevan, Meg Davies.
Wales WXV1 Fixtures
- Canada v Wales, Saturday, October 21st, Sky Stadium, Wellington (KO: 4pm local time)
- New Zealand v Wales, Saturday, 28th, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin (KO: 4pm local time)
- Australia v Wales, Friday, November 3rd, Go Media Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland (KO: 7pm local time)