Summer boost can be the basis for our success, says Phillips
WALES Women captain Carys Phillips says her team are full of confidence ahead of their autumn series opener against South Africa today.
She says the revamped regional programme has given the squad good heart over the summer and they are now looking to underline that sentiment, starting at Cardiff Arms Park (11.30am).
“The Six Nations didn’t go the way we wanted it to go, but over the summer we revamped the regional programme,” said hooker Phillips.
“I think the success we’ve had from that has really built well into this autumn campaign.
“The feeling in the camp is really good at the minute and getting these three challenging games ahead are only going to help us.
“We’re really excited for these three games to begin and hopefully we can get this campaign kicked off with a win.”
Uncapped Ospreys full-back Lauren Smyth is in the starting line-up with three new faces in Manon Johnes, Ffion Lewis and Alicia McComish on the bench.
Alisha Butchers makes a welcome return to the Wales team to face South Africa after a long layoff due to injury.
The starting line-up includes eight of the Ospreys Women squad who took home the regional championship title.
There are three more Ospreys on the bench. After facing South Africa, Wales will then meet Hong Kong and Canada.
“Our skill-set and fitness levels have improved massively and as soon as we’ve come into camp, we’ve just pushed on and progressed even further than we have before,” said Phillips of the Ospreys.
“I think that’s excellent for us and we just want to put all our hard work into these international games.
“These are the sort of games where we’ve got to show we’ve made progress and I think it’s a good chance for us to prove that good things are going to come.”
Wales Women: Lauren Smyth (Ospreys); Jasmine Joyce (Scarlets), Alecs Donnovan (Ospreys), Kerin Lake (Ospreys), Jess Kavanagh (RGC); Robyn Wilkins (Blues), Keira Bevan (Ospreys) ; Caryl Thomas (Dragons), Carys Phillips (captain, Ospreys), Amy Evans (Ospreys), Siwan Lillicrap (Ospreys), Mel Clay (Ospreys), Alisha Butchers (Scarlets), Bethan Lewis (Dragons), Sioned Harries (Scarlets) Replacements: Kelsey Jones (Ospreys), Cara Hope (Ospreys), Cerys Hale (Dragons), Natalia John (Ospreys), Manon Johnes (Blues), Ffion Lewis (Scarlets), Alicia McComish (Dragons), Lisa Neumann (RGC).