Intermin Lead Coach Darren Edwards is targeting victory over Scotland as Wales Women begin the build-up to next year’s World Cup.
The Wales Sevens men’s head coach will be assisted by Chris Horsman, Geraint Lewis and Gareth Wyatt in preparing the squad for the rescheduled Six Nations match against Scotland (weekend of Saturday 31 October).
Edwards met-up with the players and hopes the players will be able to train together properly in a few weeks after the disruption caused by COVID-19.
“I enjoy challenges and I think we’re all pleased to be back on the rugby pitch again after such a long lay-off,” said Edwards, who has previously coached Bath, Dragons and Wales U20.
“There is a really good support team behind me – the rest of the interim coaching team will be invaluable after leading the squad throughout last season.
“We met up for the first time last night under a progressive return to play plan for Wales Women. The players have clearly worked very hard on a personal level over the past six months, and recently back with their clubs.
“We are all thrilled we can now train together as a squad of players and coaches – firstly split into groups and then as a whole squad in a couple of weeks.
“I observed Wales Women last year and I know they created a great environment on and off the pitch.
“Environment is key for me. I’m a great believer in behaviours, how you take ownership for your individual and group training and we’ll be building personal plans the players can take back to their clubs.
“The Scotland game provides a perfect focus to get us all back in the game 12 months out from the Rugby World Cup. We will be putting building blocks in place initially and aiming to be as competitive as possible come November 1.”
Edwards has named a 35-strong squad including one uncapped player in forward Laura Bleehen while he sees the return of experienced forwards Shona Powell-Hughes and Caryl Thomas and back Alecs Donovan.
Siwan Lillicrap retains the captaincy she held throughout the championship and since November last year.
Edwards has been placed in temporary charge while the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) searches for a permanent head coach to lead the side through until the 2021 World Cup and 2022 Commonwealth Games.
WRU Performance Director Ryan Jones said, “Darren has a wealth of experience and ahead of the appointment of a new head coach, he is in an excellent position to add to the skillset of the other coaches who made progress in a number of areas last season.”
Wales Women are training out of Swansea University’s sports facilities to prepare for this match.
Wales Women Six Nations squad 2020:
Laura Bleehen (uncapped), Alisha Butchers, Alex Callender, Gwen Crabb, Georgia Evans, Abbie Fleming, Cerys Hale, Cara Hope, Natalia John, Manon Johnes, Kelsey Jones, Molly Kelly, Bethan Lewis, Siwan Lillicrap, Robyn Lock, Shona Powell-Hughes, Gwenllian Pyrs, Caryl Thomas
Keira Bevan, Hannah Bluck, Alecs Donovan, Lleucu George, Hannah Jones, Jasmine Joyce, Courtney Keight, Kerin Lake, Caitlin Lewis, Ffion Lewis, Lisa Neumann, Kayleigh Powell, Paige Randall, Lauren Smyth, Elinor Snowsill, Megan Webb, Robyn Wilkins