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Lillicrap using Canada loss as a learning curve

Siwan Lillicrap Wales

Siwan Lillicrap insists that Wales’ loss to Canada can be a turning point in their World Cup journey.

Ioan Cunningham’s side lost 31-3 to the world number four team but for skipper Lillicrap, the warm-up match was an important learning curve heading into the World Cup.

Wales boasted a new-look side with three uncapped players in a team that includes 12 full-time professional athletes.

But after Elinor Snowsill had put them into the lead with a penalty on nine minutes, they could not add to that total.

Captain Lillicrap said: “It was so important to have a hit-out against quality opposition like Canada.

“We’ve had our first proper pre-season as professional athletes and it was vital to measure ourselves in a Test match situation at this stage of our prep for the World Cup.

“We will take a lot of learnings from the match and the whole week. Our set-piece improved compared to our training session against Canada on Tuesday, we need to improve our urgency in contact, we allowed Canada too many turnovers.

“It was a great benchmark for us. Defensively we looked comfortable mostly but we didn’t take the scoring opportunities we had so we will need to work on that. Lots to work on but lots of positives.”

Canada crossed the whitewash five times to take the win as Wales struggled to convert points.

But Lillicrap believes that in the long run, this defeat will be instrumental in building strength in team selection ahead of the World Cup in October, with Lowri Norkett, Carys Williams-Morris and Eloise Hayward all making their debuts.

She said: “It’s been really valuable to train together, away from home for a week. We learned a lot about each other, I’m excited about the journey we’re on over the next few weeks before we get on the plane to New Zealand.

“I’m really proud of the first caps, they are well deserved by all three and other girls had important opportunities too.

“We have more strength in depth in the squad than I’ve ever experienced which is exactly what we need to give the coaches selection headaches for the world cup.”

With both experience and new blood in the team, Cunningham will have another chance to test his squad in their upcoming warm-up match against England in Bristol on September 14th.

In the TikTok Women’s 2022 Six Nations, the world’s number one side beat Wales 58-5 but Cunningham believes tough competition is the key to their development on the pitch.

He said: “We’re only into our first game after a pretty tough pre-season where the girls are tired going into a game.

“It’s exactly what we want because it’s all about the World Cup.

“So, this is a positive week for us and a positive outcome as we develop and move forward.

“We’ll review this, keep working hard, play England and then we’re on the plane so it’s getting bigger and better but we’re looking forward.”