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Wales head coach Ioan Cunningham ‘delighted’ to stay on until 2025 Women’s Rugby World Cup

06 Jul 2022 3 minute read
Ioan Cunningham picture by the WRU

Wales head coach Ioan Cunningham has committed to the role up to and including the 2025 Women’s Rugby World Cup amid a further boost to his full-time player pool.

The Welsh Rugby Union has awarded 17 new full-time contracts for a six-month period from July 1, in addition to the 12 players who were given full-time deals at the start of the year.

Cunningham said: “First things first, I’m delighted with this latest investment in players and staff which will give the players the best opportunity to succeed in October.

“We are competing against other nations across the world, who are continually raising the bar themselves so it’s vital to keep improving to have a chance of getting ahead of that progression curve.

“I’m delighted to stay on with this group. I love working with the players and staff every day and look forward to seeing how far we can go over the next few years, not just with this squad but with the next crop of players coming through too.”


The new full-time contracts include 11 players who had previously taken up retainer contracts, along with five brand new, full-time players – flanker Alex Callender, props Cara Hope and Caryl Thomas, uncapped lock Liliana Podpadec and centre Megan Webb, while outside half Robyn Wilkins has taken up a retainer contract.

Additional players are also training with the squad on a full-time basis with support from their employers. These include 63-times capped back row Sioned Harries who has been given permission by Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Dur to train full-time from this week, three weeks before the end of term as she aims to make it to her fourth Rugby World Cup, along with two other squad members, Elinor Snowsill and Caryl Thomas.

Some three-month contracts are also up for grabs to cover the Rugby World Cup period.

WRU Performance Director Nigel Walker said, “It’s an exciting time for professional women’s rugby in Wales. The initial investment of contracts made an immediate difference to the standards and results of the side in the TikTok Women’s Six Nations and this further investment in players and staff will help to give Wales the best chance of performing with distinction at the forthcoming Rugby World Cup.

“I’m delighted Ioan (Cunningham) has committed to the programme until at least the next Rugby World Cup. He has been central to the success so far, he is highly regarded by both the players and management team and has a vision which we as a Union are more than happy to invest in.

“It’s vital the players and staff have a robust support system to ensure they are in the best shape physically and mentally for Rugby World Cup and the investment in additional staff is key to this.”

WRU contracted players


Keira Bevan
Alisha Butchers
Alex Callender*
Gwen Crabb*
Georgia Evans*
Kat Evans*
Lleucu George*
Cerys Hale*
Cara Hope*
Natalia John
Hannah Jones
Kelsey Jones*
Jasmine Joyce
Kerin Lake*
Bethan Lewis*
Caitlin Lewis*
Ffion Lewis
Siwan Lillicrap
Lisa Neumann
Carys Phillips
Lilliana Podpadec*
Kayleigh Powell*
Gwenllian Pyrs
Donna Rose
Elinor Snowsill
Niamh Terry*
Caryl Thomas*
Sisilia Tuipulotu*
Meg Webb *

Part-time contracts:

Abbie Fleming
Robyn Wilkins*

*Newly awarded contracts, either full-time or retainer

Other players in full-time pre-season training programme:

Sioned Harries
Eloise Hayward
Emma Hennessy
Manon Johnes
Lowri Norkett
Gemma Rowland
Jenni Scoble
Scarlett Thomas-Thompson
Carys Williams

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