Chiefs trio in Welsh squad
By Harry-Scott Munro
There have been yet more international call-ups for Susie Appleby’s Exeter Chiefs Women's side with Welsh trio Abbie Fleming, Caitlin Lewis and Niamh Terry, all named in Geraint Lewis and Ioan Cunningham’s 36-player squad to take on Japan, South Africa and Canada in next month’s autumn series.
Siwan Lillicrap captains the squad which contains six uncapped players, as forwards Kat Evans (Saracens), Liliana Podpadec (Llandaff North) and Madi Johns (Porth Harlequins) and backs Jade Mullen (Harlequins), Leanne Burnell (Pontyclun Falcons) and Flo Williams (Wasps) all look to get their first taste of international action.
It has been a period of upheaval for Wales, with former Head Coach Warren Abrahams leaving after the 2021 Six Nations Championship.
With no permanent Head Coach in position as yet, Lewis and Cunningham will oversee the interim coaching team ahead of November’s tests.
A year out from the World Cup, Cunningham expressed his hope that his side would be able to pick up valuable experience against three teams with very contrasting styles.
“We are looking forward to these home internationals and testing ourselves against three teams who will test the group in different ways, with a variety of styles and structures. That is just what is required a year out from Rugby World Cup.”
Fellow interim coach Lewis focused on the blend of youth and experience in the squad, as well as the performances of a number of Welsh players in the Allianz Premier 15s.
““We feel we have a good mix of new and experienced players which will provide competition within the squad which is always healthy in international sport in order to improve performances and results,” he explained. “Many Welsh players have been performing well for their Allianz Premier 15s clubs and it’s also been good to see women’s club rugby return following 18 months of stoppages in Wales.”
Forward Abbie Fleming has impressed for Exeter again this season, adding additional physicality to an already strong pack off the bench when called upon. Similarly, wing Lewis has impressed off the bench in her two appearances this season, with fans getting a glimpse of her natural speed in appearances against Sale Sharks and Wasps.
Fellow back Terry burst onto the scene for Exeter in their debut campaign last season, scoring two tries in ten appearances.
All three players will be looking to put their hands up ahead of their opening international match with Japan on 7th November.
Wales Women Autumn squad:
Forwards: Siwan Lillicrap (capt), Alisha Butchers, Alex Callender, Bethan Dainton, Kat Evans, Cerys Hale, Cara Hope, Gwen Crabb, Abbie Fleming, Georgia Evans, Natalia John, Madi Johns, Manon Johnes, Molly Kelly, Bethan Lewis, Robyn Lock, Liliana Podpadec, Gwenllian Pyrs, Donna Rose, Caryl Thomas
Backs: Keira Bevan, Leanne Burnell, Hannah Jones, Jasmine Joyce, Jess Kavanagh, Courtney Keight, Kerin Lake, Caitlin Lewis, Ffion Lewis, Jade Mullen, Lisa Neumann, Elinor Snowsill, Niamh Terry, Flo Williams, Megan Webb, Robyn Wilkins