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WXV1: Wales make six changes for the final against Australia

WXV1: Wales make six changes for the final against Australia
  • Written by Siri Coleman Phillips
  • BBC Sport Wales in Auckland

Image source, Huw Evans Photo Agency

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Wales are looking for their first win in WXV

place: Go Media Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland date: Friday 3 November Starting: 06:00 GMT

coverage: Live on S4C, commentary on BBC Radio Wales Extra, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website, plus live text updates and match reports on the BBC Sport website and app.

Wales have made six changes from their starting lineup as they look to end their first WXV campaign on a high against Australia in Auckland on Friday.

Lisa Newman and Karis Cox have been named on the wings with double Olympian Jasmine Joyce shifting to full-back.

Carys Phillips, Cecilia Tuipulotu, Georgia Evans and Bethan Lewis all return to the group.

Wales currently sit at the bottom of the Premier League table after two heavy defeats to Canada and New Zealand.

Ewan Cunningham’s side face a team just one place above them in the world rankings at No. 5, but victory will not be easy as the Wallaroos showed their class last weekend with a win over France, who themselves beat New Zealand in the opening round.

England are the only unbeaten team in WXV1 so far and will be gunning for the title when they take on the Black Ferns on Saturday. Should they win, it would be a clean sweep of the Northern Hemisphere teams in the inaugural year of the competition, with Scotland winning WXV2 and Ireland WXV3.

Wales have never beaten Australia, although they came close to reaching the pool stage at last year’s Rugby World Cup, losing 13-7.

Cunningham returns largely to the starting lineup that performed so well in the first half against Canada, with the same backline, front row and second row.

Hannah Block (centre), Loco George (fly-half) and Kate Williams (wing) retained their places after New Zealand’s defeat.

Tight prop Donna Rose is unavailable for selection after suffering a head injury last weekend, with experienced Cerys Hale set to make her WXV debut off the bench.

“We have made changes and rotated the squad for our third Test match in three weeks and the aim is to build our strength deeply at international level,” Cunningham said.

“This is the first fully professional team to leave Wales and has proven a real learning curve for the players, coaches and staff.

“We have been very focused on what we do, and we have chosen to take on the challenge of Australia, with an experienced bench designed to make a real impact.

“We know where we have to improve and what our strengths are, and playing at this level of competition will be beneficial for us in the long run. It has been a tough tour, but the team is now fully focused on Australia.”

Australia: Vittala Mulika; Maya Stewart, Georgina Fredericks, Arabella McKenzie, Evania Wong; Carys Dallinger, Lynn Morgan; Brianna Hoy, Tanya Nadine, Eva Karpani, Sera Naikama, Michaela Leonard (captain), Siokapisi Palo, Emily Chancellor, Kaitlan Linney.

Replacements: Adiana Talakai, Bre-Anna Cheatham, Bryde O’Gorman, Atasi Lafay, Ashley Marsters, Jay Huriway, Cecilia Smith, Lori Kramer.

Wales: Jasmine Joyce; Lisa Newman, Hannah-Jones (captain), Hannah Block, Carys Cox; Lyoko George, Keira Bevan; Gwenllian Pearce, Carys Phillips, Cecilia Tuipoto, Abby Fleming, Georgia Evans, Kate Williams, Alex Callender, Bethan Lewis.

Replacements: Kelsey Jones, Abby Constable, Cerys Hill, Alisha Butchers, Sionid Harries, Meg Davies, Robyn Wilkins, Keren Lake.


to rule: Holly Davidson (SRU)

Helpers: Sarah Cox (RFU), Tiana Anderson (New Zealand)

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