Wales Women Facing Italian Frenzy, Says Rowland Phillips

Wales Women’s coach Rowland Phillips is expecting a “frenzy” on the field when his team face Italy on Saturday.

The Italians beat Wales last season and will be aiming to repeat that on home soil, with Philips admitting they present an unorthodox challenge to his team in their Six Nations opener.

Wales head into the encounter buoyed by four victories in their past four matches, but the team is in no doubt that the real challenge starts this weekend.

Phillips, whose first game in charge was against Scotland in the first of those four wins, has been keen to keep a sense of perspective.
“We’ve got so much work to do as we build for the future, we’re in a phase where we can see improvements quite quickly,” he says.

“But what we need to do is to keep building and building if we want to compete against the top teams. We have to ensure we get our game right, not least against Italy.”
As for how a team goes about preparing to play against Italy, Phillips suggests it’s a case of expecting the unexpected.

“What they will do is they can be unconventional, creating a frenzied environment on the pitch,” he explains.

“They put teams under pressure, including themselves. We have to manage those moments and not force anything we don’t need to do.”
The environment he and his assistant coaches, Nick Wakley and Paul Young, have helped to cultivate is one that has proved effective.

“The most encouraging thing for us as coaches is that this is a team that’s enthusiastic about learning as well as having the ability to do so quickly – even on the field when it’s required.”
Italy captain Sara Barattin spoke recently about how hard-fought games between these two nations can be, and her Welsh counterpart, hooker Carys Phillips, echoes that sentiment.
“We’ve been completely focused on Italy, because we’re fully aware of how much a challenge they represent,” says Phillips.

“Our preparation has been thorough up to this point, and while we view our recent success as a good starting point to help us move on to bigger things, we know we’re still developing as a team.”

Wales Women team to face Italy (14:00 GMT)
15 Dyddgu Hywel (Scarlets)
14 Elen Evans (Scarlets)
13 Kerin Lake (Ospreys)
12 Robyn Wilkins (Ospreys)
11 Adi Taviner (Ospreys
10 Elinor Snowsill (Newport Gwent Dragons)
9 Keira Bevan (Ospreys)
1 Caryl Thomas (Scarlets)
2 Carys Phillips (c) (Ospreys)
3 Amy Evans (Ospreys)
4 Rebecca Rowe (Newport Gwent Dragons)
5 Mel Clay (Ospreys)
6 Sioned Harries (Scarlets)
7 Rachel Taylor (Scarlets)
8 Shona Powell-Hughes (Ospreys)

Replacements
16 Lowri Harries (Scarlets)
17 Cerys Hale (Newport Gwent Dragons)
18 Gwenllian Pyrs (Scarlets)
19 Siwan Lillicrap (Ospreys)
20 Alisha Butchers (Scarlets)
21 Sian Moore (Newport Gwent Dragons)
22 Gemma Rowland (Newport Gwent Dragons)
23 Jessica Kavanagh-Williams (Scarlets)

 

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