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Ioan Cunningham

Wales head coach Ioan Cunningham

Cunningham names 47-strong squad for Six Nations training camp

Wales Women’s head coach Ioan Cunningham has named a 47-player extended Six Nations squad for a three-day training camp ahead of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations tournament.

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Cunningham led Wales to a third-place finish in last season’s tournament which saw Wales qualify for the inaugural and historic WXV1 tournament for the six best teams in the world in New Zealand.

The extended training squad will meet up this week and be slimmed down in March to the squad to compete in the Six Nations ahead of Wales’ opening game against Scotland at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday, March 23rd.

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The bulk of the squad is made up of players who played in WXV1 towards the end of 2023, with the likes of experienced second rows Natalia John and Gwen Crabb back after returning to action this season.

Jenny Hesketh, the Bristol Bears full-back and former England U20s captain, who is qualified to play for Wales through her Welsh mother, is named in the squad.

The squad sees some familiar faces returning for the three-day training camp and the exciting new talent that has impressed for the new Welsh Rugby Union teams in the expanded Celtic Challenge.

Former Wales internationals, Shona Wakley and Rebecca De Filippo, are included after impressing on their return to action with Brython Thunder and Gwalia Lightning in the new cross-border tournament between sides from Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Number 8 Wakely made her Wales debut against South Africa at the 2010 World Cup and has won 45 caps for her country. Centre De Filippo made her Wales debut against Scotland in the 2012 Six Nations and has won 26 Wales caps.

The squad includes nine new faces from the Gwalia Lightning side that competed in the Celtic Challenge with Australian-born and Welsh-qualified backrower, Tess Evans, selected alongside the likes of scrum half Sian Jones and Number 8 Gwennan Hopkins.

Cunningham said: “We have named a large squad to assess where we are and to reward those players who have impressed with their clubs and, particularly, the players who have played in the Celtic Challenge.

“It’s a chance for the coaches and staff to have a closer look at every player and to see how they deliver in a professional environment. For the players, who have genuine international ambitions, it’s an opportunity to see the standards that we expect, on and off the field, and to be aligned with the requirements of Test match rugby.

“The culture we have as a squad is important and we want all the players selected to understand and buy in to who we are and where we are heading as a national team.

“We are beginning to build some real strength-in-depth and competition for places with more players getting regular game-time under their belts. The Celtic Challenge is delivering with players now playing a higher standard of rugby.

“The training camp will be tough and we make no excuses for that because wearing the Wales jersey is a privilege and has to be earned.

“We are looking forward to being back together and it’s chance to draw a line in the sand after last season and focus on the challenge ahead of what promises to be an exciting and demanding 2024 Six Nations tournament.”

Wales Extended Six Nations Training Squad:

Backs: Nel Metcalfe, Lisa Neumann, Hannah Jones, Hannah Bluck, Carys Cox, Lleucu George, Keira Bevan, Courtney Keight, Carys Williams-Morris, Meg Webb, Kerin Lake, Robyn Wilkins, Meg Davies, Amelia Tutt, Niamh Terry, Ffion Lewis, Jenny Hesketh, Kelsey Webster, Rebecca De Filippo, Cath Richards, Sian Jones, Ellie Tromans

Forwards: Gwenllian Pyrs, Carys Phillips, Sisilia Tuipulotu, Abbie Fleming, Georgia Evans, Kate Williams, Alex Callender, Bethan Lewis, Abbey Constable, Kelsey Jones, Donna Rose, Natalia John, Gwen Crabb, Alisha Butchers, Cerys Hale, Bryonie King, Chloe Thomas-Bradley, Molly Reardon, Jenni Scoble, Alaw Pyrs, Maisie Davies, Tess Evans, Gwennan Hopkins, Shona Wakley, Cadi-Lois Davies

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