Sum­mer boost key for us – Phillips

South Wales Evening Post - - RUGBY -

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).

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