Wales make four changes for World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand
Wales make four changes and one positional switch for the World Cup quarter-final clash against New Zealand in Whangarei on Saturday.
Head coach Ioan Cunningham has handed Keira Bevan and Lowri Norkett their first starts of the tournament at scrumhalf and on the right wing respectively with Jasmine Joyce switching to full-back.
Up front, Donna Rose and Carys Phillips return to the front row to take their place alongside Cara Hope who has started every game.
Hannah Jones retains the captaincy of the side, while Lleucu George and Gwenllian Pyrs could make make their first appearances of the competition from the bench.
Wales took a battering from New Zealand in the group game two weeks ago, losing 56-12 with the hosts running in 10 tries in total.
Cunningham said, “It’s a hugely exciting week for us all, the girls have done extremely well to get to this point and we should all be proud of that. We have a tough task on Saturday facing the Black Ferns on their home patch. They are in good form, scoring a lot of points and playing well.
“However, we have nothing to lose, we intend to go out and leave everything on the field.”
“New Zealand have got good athletes across the park, they keep the ball in hand so we’ve selected a back three who can cover a lot of ground and maintain a high level of physicality with Jaz at full-back and Lisa and Lowri on the wings.
“Keira has made a positive impact coming off the bench so deserves to start at scrum-half while Ffion has a different role this week. Lleucu’s attitude has been excellent and she deserves to get a chance. She’s got a good passing game too.
“It’s good to see Gwenllian Pyrs in the matchday 23 too having returned to fitness and form in time for the quarter-final.
“We will be playing in front of a huge home crowd and we will need to feed off the atmosphere. To play New Zealand twice in a world cup is 100% the experience you want to grow as a team – it’s only going to raise our standards short term but also longer term too.”
Wales team v New Zealand:
15 Jasmine Joyce 14 Lowri Norkett 13 Carys Williams-Morris 12 Hannah Jones (capt) 11 Lisa Neumann 10 Elinor Snowsill 9 Keira Bevan 1 Cara Hope 2 Carys Phillips 3 Donna Rose 4 Natalia John 5 Gwen Crabb 6 Bethan Lewis 7 Alex Callender 8 Sioned Harries
16 Kelsey Jones 17 Gwenllian Pyrs 18 Sisilia Tuipulotu 19 Georgia Evans 20 Siwan Lillicrap 21 Ffion Lewis 22 Lleucu George 23 Megan Webb
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