Wilkinson Hopes Wales Can Put Ireland To The Sword In World League Clash

Leah Wilkinson says Wales are relishing facing Ireland as they bid for a spot in the World League Round 2 final in Kuala Lumpur.

The vice-captain netted the late winner in Thursday’s 2-1 win over Kazakhstan in the quarter-finals.

Wales now face world No 16 Ireland on Saturday knowing the winners are guaranteed a place in June’s World League semi-finals.

That is a qualification event for the World Cup, though Wales’ marvellous Malaysian adventure will also bring vital ranking points as they look to qualify for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.

The Holcombe defender said: “We’re making history and getting to this point is a great achievement for us.

“To earn the right to play against Ireland is fantastic and we’ll get a lot of world ranking points from this, which are really important to us.”

“I wouldn’t necessarily say that it was our best performance, but the important thing is that we made it to the semi-finals.”

Wilkinson netted with four minutes left after Jo Westwood’s goal had been cancelled out.

Ireland thrashed Singapore 10-0 in their quarter-final. Wales had met Singapore in the pool, winning 7-0.

Italy face the hosts in the other semi with the two finalists guaranteed that World League spot in the summer.

And Wales’ women are no stranger to beating higher ranked opponents having defeated Italy (No 15) and Poland (No 20) last year.

Head Coach Kevin Johnson said: “We’re obviously delighted to be in the semi-final.

Coming into the tournament, to get to a position to get the maximum world ranking points was absolutely key.

“Kazakhstan didn’t make life easy for us, it was difficult and on top of that we didn’t make it easy for ourselves.

“Anything can happen in a semi-final.

“We wanted to give ourselves the chance to have a shot at World League Round 3 (Semi-Finals) and now we’ve got that shot, so as a group we’re really pleased and, as always, looking forward to the next challenge.”

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