Siwan Lillicrap has been named Wales captain for the Women’s Six Nations as head coach Warren Abrahams plots his first Championship in charge.
Lillicrap has held the armband since November 2019 and led Wales in the 2020 Championship, where they were sixth in the table after four matches.
Wales open their 2021 Championship with an away trip to France on the weekend of April 3, before they host Ireland the following weekend and then a play-off match on April 24.
“It’s a huge honour as always to put on the Wales jersey and to lead the team is incredibly special to me, especially at this time,” she said.
“The girls have put in so much work on and off the field over the past year without any international fixtures and to have some Six Nations matches to look forward to and aim for now means so much to us all.
“We are grateful to have this opportunity and the privilege of representing and leading your country never diminishes. It’s something you can never assume or take for granted.
“We’ve all been challenged in new ways in recent months and I know I’ve worked hard to prove myself to Warren as a player and captain which makes it even more meaningful.”
Abrahams has extended his training squad ahead of the Championship, with the return from injury of internationals Lleucu George, Kerin Lake and Ffion Lewis.
He has added five uncapped players in 17-year-old Gloucester-Hartpury forward Sisilia Tuipulotu, props Laura Bleehen, Gwenllian Jenkins and Madi Johns and Exeter scrum-half Megan Davies.
Mel Howley (née Clay) also returns after a year out due to the birth of her son along with international forwards Carys Phillips and Bethan Dainton thanks to their good form for Worcester Warriors and Harlequins respectively in the Allianz Premier 15s.
“Everything is tailored towards that first game in France now,” Abrahams added.
“It’s very exciting to be training as a group but there’s no better feeling than representing your country and to be able to look forward to being part of a competitive Women’s Six Nations match is what we are all passionate about.
“But first we have to get the work done and believe in ourselves. We are encouraged by the physical progress and performance improvements the players are making both within our environment and for their clubs and they are taking ownership of aspects of the analysis work on our opposition.”
Wales Women training squad:
Forwards: Laura Bleehen, Abbie Fleming, Alisha Butchers, Gwen Crabb, Bethan Dainton, Georgia Evans, Cerys Hale, Cara Hope, Mel Howley, Molly Kelly, Gwenllian Jenkins, Natalia John, Manon Johnes, Madi Johns, Kelsey Jones, Beth Lewis, Siwan Lillicrap, Robyn Lock, Carys Phillips, Shona Powell-Hughes, Donna Rose, Caryl Thomas, Sisilia Tuipulotu, Teleri Wyn Davies
Backs : Keira Bevan, Megan Davies, Alecs Donovan, Lleucu George, Beth Huntley, Bryonie King, Courtney Keight, Jade Knight, Kerin Lake, Caitlin Lewis, Ffion Lewis, Lisa Neumann, Hannah Jones, Jasmine Joyce, Kayleigh Powell, Paige Randall, Jess Roberts, Gemma Rowland, Lauren Smyth, Elinor Snowsill, Niamh Terry, Meg Webb, Robyn Wilkins, Flo Williams