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Abrahams selects new-look Wales side for trip to France

Robyn Wilkins

Uncapped duo Donna Rose and Jess Roberts will make their Wales debuts in Saturday’s Women’s Six Nations opener against France in Vannes.

Rose lines up at tighthead prop, joining Caryl Thomas – winning her first cap since March 2019 – and Kelsey Jones in the front row, while scrum-half Roberts takes the No.9 jersey.

Roberts’ Sale Sharks teammate Teleri Wyn Davies makes her first international start in the second row and Megan Davies could be set for her Wales bow having been named among the replacements.

Lillicrap excited for new Wales era

In addition to the new faces, Warren Abrahams’ first matchday squad since taking charge includes two players due to occupy different roles.

Robyn Wilkins starts at full-back, having previously lined up at fly-half, and Robyn Lock is the replacement hooker following her transition from the back row with Gloucester-Hartpury in the Allianz Premier 15s.

Siwan Lillicrap captains the side from No.8, flanked by Georgia Evans and Manon Johnes, while the two Welsh players in the GB Sevens set-up, Jasmine Joyce and Hannah Jones, start in a talented backline.

Abrahams said: “We’re excited to get on the pitch and show what we can do. The team is selected on form following some impressive performances in the Allianz Premier 15s.

“Jess (Roberts) gives us a great platform to execute our gameplan at scrum-half, while Donna (Rose) and Teleri (Wyn Jones) have really impressed for their clubs and in training too.

“We have had some disappointment in terms of injuries to the likes of Keira Bevan and Kayleigh Powell in the backs but that also gives other players opportunities.

“Meg Davies has impressed with Exeter and is ready to take her opportunity. I’m sure full back isn’t Robyn (Wilkin)’s preferred position but it’s something she’s prepared to do for the team.

“That is key – the team comes first. Whether you are starting, on the bench, or in the wider squad, every player knows what they need to do to ensure the team is in the best possible place for those 80 minutes.”

The Pool B clash kicks off at 8pm (UK time) and is live on BBC iPlayer.

Wales team to play France:

15. Robyn Wilkins (Worcester Warriors)

14. Lisa Neumann (Sale Sharks)

13. Hannah Jones (vice-captain, Gloucester-Hartpury)

12. Kerin Lake (Gloucester-Hartpury)

11. Jasmine Joyce (Bristol Bears)

10. Elinor Snowsill (Bristol Bears)

9. Jess Roberts (Sale Sharks)

1 Caryl Thomas (Worcester Warriors)

2. Kelsey Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury

3. Donna Rose (Saracens)

4. Gwen Crabb (Gloucester-Hartpury)

5. Teleri Wyn Davies (Sale Sharks)

6. Georgia Evans (Saracens)

7. Manon Johnes (Bristol Bears)

8. Siwan Lillicrap (captain, Bristol Bears)

Replacements:

16. Robyn Lock (Gloucester-Hartpury)

17. Cara Hope (Gloucester-Hartpury)

18. Cerys Hale (Gloucester-Hartpury)

19. Bethan Dainton (Harlequins)

20. Natalia John (Bristol Bears)

21. Megan Davies (Exeter Chiefs)

22. Gemma Rowland (Bristol Bears)

23. Courtney Keight (Bristol Bears)