Hannah Jones Wales

Hannah Jones Wales. Pic: Getty Images.

Wales Draft In Seven Uncapped Players, Including Former England U20 Captain Jenny Hesketh

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By Hannah Blackwell

Hannah Jones has retained the Wales captaincy within a squad that contains seven uncapped players for the upcoming Women’s Six Nations.

The bulk of the squad includes players who played in last season’s campaign and achieved Wales’ highest world ranking of sixth to qualify for the new WXV1 global tournament for the six best sides in the world.

Head coach Ioan Cunningham has named a group of uncapped players including former England U20s captain Jenny Hesketh, who qualifies to play for Wales through her Welsh mother.

The others are Cath Richards, Molly Reardon, Jenni Scoble, Gwennan Hopkins, Mollie Wilkinson and Sian Jones.

Lock Shona Wakley, who made her Wales debut in 2010, makes a return to the Wales squad and will be looking to add to the 45 caps she has already won for her country.

Experienced second rows Natalia John and Gwen Crabb return to the squad after missing out on WXV1 due to injury.

Wales kick-off their campaign against Scotland at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday, March 23rd (KO: 4:45pm).

Cunningham, said: “This was the hardest squad to select since the game went professional in 2022 and there was plenty of debate within the coaching group around selection.

“This 2024 Six Nations campaign promises to be the biggest and toughest tournament so far but we are all excited to see the players named set new standards and take this team to new heights.

“The Welsh public’s support proved massive for the squad last season and a first stand-alone game against Italy in Principality Stadium is a mouthwatering end to the campaign, but we know we have some major challenges ahead of us before we get to that final weekend.

“We have named a squad full of proven experience at international rugby and a mix of exciting young talent we have seen emerge at club and Wales U20s level, especially through the new expanded Celtic Challenge tournament.

“The bulk of the squad played in WXV1 in New Zealand and have the experience of playing in a tournament for the best six teams in the world. We have named seven uncapped players who have impressed for their clubs so far this season.

“All of them have being playing regular rugby and deserve their opportunity to show what they can do in an international environment.”

“Jenny Hesketh and Cath Richards have impressed with their performances in the Premiership and Molly Reardon, Jenni Scoble, Gwennan Hopkins, Mollie Wilkinson and Sian Jones have done the same in the Celtic Challenge.

“We welcome back Welsh international Shona Wakley and her performances demonstrate that the door is always open for selection if a player’s performances warrant it. All the players, coaches and staff are excited to meet the challenge of a new Six Nations campaign.”

Wales Women’s Six Nations squad

Forwards: Gwenllian Pyrs, Abbey Constable, Carys Phillips, Kelsey Jones, Molly Reardon, Sisilia Tuipulotu, Donna Rose, Jenni Scoble, Abbie Fleming, Natalia John, Gwen Crabb, Bryonie King, Shona Wakley, Alisha Butchers, Georgia Evans, Alex Callender, Kate Williams, Bethan Lewis, Gwennan Hopkins

Backs: Jasmine Joyce, Nel Metcalfe, Jenny Hesketh, Courtney Keight, Kayleigh Powell, Cath Richards, Lisa Neumann, Amelia Tutt, Hannah Jones (captain), Kerin Lake, Hannah Bluck, Carys Cox, Lleucu George, Mollie Wilkinson, Niamh Terry, Keira Bevan, Sian Jones, Meg Davies.

Five Development players – Hanna Marshall, Seren Singleton, Maisie Davies, Cadi-Lois Davies and Alaw Pyrs – have been invited to train with the squad.

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