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Joyce and Jones return for Wales against Italy

Joyce and Jones return for Wales against Italy

Jasmine Joyce is in the starting line-up for Wales' Women's Six Nations opener against Italy ©INPHO

  • Jasmin Joyce and Hannah Jones named in the starting XV
  • Uncapped Ruth Lewis named on bench
  • First Women’s Six Nations starts for Kayleigh Powell, Gwenllian Pyrs and Kelsey Jones

Wales’ Jasmine Joyce and Hannah Jones have returned to the starting line-up for their Women’s Six Nations opener against Italy in Cardiff this weekend.

The duo missed the five-match autumn series but were named by coach Chris Horsman alongside Alisha Butchers and uncapped Ruth Lewis.

Three players are in line for their first Women’s Six Nations starts as full-back Kayleigh Powell and front-row forwards Gwenllian Pyrs and Kelsey Jones are in the starting XV.

Molly Kelly, Georgia Evans and Paige Randall have all been named on the bench and are set make their debut in the Championship.

Wales finished fourth in last year’s Championship and Horsman believes the side will face a stern test against the Azzurri.

“There was debate and competition around every position in the selection meeting, which is exactly what we want,” Horsman said.

“There was a case for every player to be involved in some way, but we feel this matchday squad is the best placed to make the most of the opportunity this weekend. As in the autumn, we want to go out and perform in every game, improving all the time.

“Italy has always been a key match for us, and this Sunday will be no different. It will be a tough game with no hiding place.

“We have asked a lot of the players, increasing the intensity of training and they’ve met the challenge head on. The aim of that is not only to perform under pressure during the Six Nations but also, longer term, to close the gap on teams above us in the world rankings.

“We are concentrating on ourselves and this week, not looking beyond the challenge of Italy on Sunday.”

Wales Women squad to face Italy – Cardiff Arms Park, Sunday 2 February 2020, KO 13.00

15. Kayleigh Powell
14. Jasmine Joyce
13. Hannah Jones
12. Kerin Lake
11. Lisa Neumann
10. Robyn Wilkins
9. Keira Bevan
1. Gwenllian Pyrs
2. Kelsey Jones
3. Cerys Hale
4. Natalia John
5. Gwen Crabb
6. Alex Callender
7. Bethan Lewis
8. Siwan Lillicrap ©

16. Molly Kelly
17. Cara Hope
18. Ruth Lewis
19. Georgia Evans
20. Alisha Butchers
21. Manon Johnes
22. Ffion Lewis
23. Paige Randall