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Lillicrap excited for new Wales era


Siwan Lillicrap has promised a new Wales ahead of the Women’s Six Nations as they adapt to a different playing style under head coach Warren Abrahams.

Abrahams was appointed as head coach in November and is set for his first match in charge against France in Vannes on Saturday night.

Wales finished sixth in the 2020 table and have not finished in the top half since 2009, but captain Lillicrap believes they are on the right track this year.

“We have done a lot of work on our unity and culture behind the scenes, in environments like this on Zoom etc. So we have worked hard on our unity and how we bring that to life,” she said.

“We are also playing a different brand of rugby than what we have done before, so we will play what is in front of us and an attacking style of rugby, playing into space. I am sure we will hopefully bring it to life this weekend.

“We have been grafting hard as a squad and have been tested in ways we have not been tested before.

“We think about things differently, so I am super excited to be able to show the reality now. That is huge for us this weekend.”

Abrahams’ impact has not only been felt on the field and Lillicrap says the team has never been closer.

“We are exploring our whys, what makes us tick, why do we want to represent this badge, what is that thing that really puts us in that special place so that we can go somewhere we haven’t been before,” she added.

“Warren has really tapped into that and challenged me as a leader, how do I bring to that to life and how I bring that forwards.

“We have gone over a lot of things about Wales and what they mean to us, like the three feathers, the dragon, the daffodil. We looked at our first photos of us playing rugby, that feeling we had then and what made us fall in love with the sport.

“That allows us to go to places we haven’t been before. We have also built unity as a squad and have empathy with each other, we understand each other better.

“And that is really important in a team sport, we know what makes us tick. We have had to work differently because of Covid but I know my teammates better than I ever have before because of Covid.

“That shows our vulnerable side and gives us an opportunity to help each other out in a time of need. It has been an exciting process.”

Wales and France are joined by Ireland in Pool B, with the format tweaked this year.

Each team will play the other two from their pool and then meet the side that finishes in the corresponding position from Pool A on Super Saturday.

“It is exciting because there will be a Super Saturday at the end of the campaign where everyone has something to play for or fight for,” Lillicrap added.

“That weekend will be super exciting and everyone has something to look forward to. We can also cause an upset, we could go to France this weekend and win.

“No-one is predicting that, we are the underdogs but that is what we are going to fight to do. And that would put a spanner in the works and make it all more exciting.

“I think that final weekend will be a good one.”