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Wales Ready To Make A Splash In New Zealand, Says Ioan Cunningham

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By David Williams

Wales will head to New Zealand for the inaugural WXV1 on the back of a morale boosting 38-18 win over the USA in horrendous conditions in Colwyn Bay.

Head coach Ioan Cunningham was able to blood two new caps and take one final look at players before announcing his squad for the upcoming top tier tournament down under.

“The rain was non-stop and they were very challenging conditions. But I thought we managed the game well,” said Cunningham.

“Territory was really important for us, and we dominated there. I thought our forwards were excellent and I am just pleased we won today as we build toward WXV.

“We had to be patient and I was pleased we stuck in their 22 and stuck at it. We were camped there and finally got a score and then another score, so the patience in our game was pleasing.”

Back row star Alex Callender picked up the player of the match award for her excellent performance and was pleased with the power of the second half, when she picked up a try herself.

“We came out after half time and thought we needed to finish the game in the first 10 minutes of the second half,” said Callender.

“It was disappointing that we let them back into the game due to our indiscipline in the second half but I’m so proud of the girls with the result.”

“We had to bin the try we conceded right at the start of the second half and continue to build as the half went on. It was massive for us to put in that performance and is a huge confidence boost going into the WXV.”

A delighted Wales captain, Hannah Jones, was another who was full of praise for the Welsh forwards, as well as the patience shown by her team.

“We didn’t think about the conditions but the pack offered the backs a great platform to play on. The pack has been outstanding from the Six Nations onwards, outstanding performances by players like Alex Callender leading by example,” said Jones.

“Tempo has been the main confidence and patience in the red zone – to finish on a try is brilliant. That has given us the confidence for the WXV that we can go out there and perform.”

The USA captain Kate Zackary was pleased with the performance of her side, but disappointed to lose.

“It’s not a disappointing result at all actually, we’re two weeks into a six-week campaign and I’m really proud of that team. The result matters for pride but in terms of our building it’s all about the WXV,” said Zackary.

“The first half wasn’t our friend with the weather but I think in the second half we tightened up and played well. Our players showed a lot of heart and we’ve got a lot of young people with a lot of potential.

“We saw that 100% that players have to give, we can bring out their potential and get to where we need to be.”

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