Rival Chiefs set to go head-to-head
By Harry Scott-Munro
Club rivalries will be on the line as four of Susie Appleby’s Exeter Chiefs Women’s squad come face-to-face against each other as Wales tackle Canada in their latest Autumn Test at the Cardiff Arms Park today.
Winger Caitlin Lewis lines-up for the hosts against club-mates Olivia De Merchant, DaLeaka Menin and Emily Tuttosi, who again form part of the Canada squad.
Wales head into their final Test of 2021 with two autumn wins from two, but they make four changes from last weekend’s 29-19 win over South Africa.
In a late change, Robyn Wilkins starts at full-back with Exeter’s Niamh Terry having sustained an ankle injury. Keira Bevan, Lisa Neumann and Caryl Thomas also return to the starting line-up with the late change meaning uncapped Wasps outside half Flo Williams takes up a place on the bench.
Despite being pleased with the performances of his side in recent weeks, Wales head coach Ioan Cunningham can still see room for improvement against the third ranked side in the world.
“We are pleased with how we went against Japan and South Africa,” he said. “However, we left a lot of scoring opportunities on the park, that is something we can’t do this weekend. When we create chances to score, we must take them.
“Canada are ranked third in the world for good reason. They have Olympic athletes in the side and World Series sevens players. They will challenge and test us and play an ‘all-court’ game – they are strong up front and put a lot of width on the ball too. We will have to apply ourselves from the off right through to final whistle.”
The Canadians though, will provide the toughest test yet for Cunningham’s side, having provided the Red Roses with their toughest test of the autumn so far last Sunday at the Twickenham Stoop.
Exeter Chiefs pair De Merchant andMenin will both start in the front row with Tuttosi poised to make an impact off the bench.
Last Sunday, and only trailing 20-12 at the break, the Canadians were well in the match against the world number one ranked side, before falling to a 51-12 defeat as the Red Roses pulled clear.
Ahead of their final match of the tour, Head Coach Sandro Fiorino had been pleased with how much he had learnt about is squad, with 35 players having been a part of the touring party.
“I am very proud of how our team has performed since returning to play,” said Fiorino. “There have been many positives to take away, as well as a number of areas that have been identified for us to work on as we continue to develop as a group. We are all looking forward to this final match.”
He is however, expecting another tough test to end their campaign.
“Wales have performed well in their two most recent matches,” added Fiorino. “They will provide us with another excellent opportunity to see where we are as a team against quality opposition and get our players more key game time as we prepare for the World Cup.”
WALES TEAM TO FACE CANADA
15 Robyn Wilkins (Gloucester-Hartpury)
14 Lisa Neumann (Sale Sharks)
13 Hannah Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury)
12 Kerin Lake (Gloucester-Hartpury)
11 Caitlin Lewis (Exeter Chiefs)
10 Elinor Snowsill (Bristol Bears)
9 Keira Bevan (Bristol Bears)
1 Caryl Thomas (Worcester Warriors)
2 Carys Phillips (Worcester Warriors)
3 Cerys Hale (Gloucester-Hartpury)
4 Natalia John (Bristol Bears)
5 Georgia Evans (Saracens)
6 Alisha Butchers (Bristol Bears)
7 Bethan Lewis (Gloucester-Hartpury)
8 Siwan Lillicrap (Bristol Bears, capt)
16 Kat Evans (Saracens)
17 Cara Hope (Gloucester-Hartpury)
18 Donna Rose (Saracens)
19 Gwen Crabb (Gloucester-Hartpury)
20 Alex Callender (Worcester Warriors)
21 Ffion Lewis (Worcester Warriors)
22 Flo Williams (Wasps)
23 Megan Webb (Bristol Bears)
CANADA TEAM TO FACE WALES
15. Elissa Alarie - Trois-Rivieres, QC - Westshore RFC/ Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Braves de Trois-Riviéres
14. Sabrina Poulin - St-Georges, QC – Town of Mount Royal Rugby/Stade Rennais
13. Sara Kaljuvee - Ajax, ON - Toronto Scottish/ University of Victoria Vikes
12. Alexandra Tessier - Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, QC - Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC
11. Paige Farries - Red Deer, AB - Worcester Warriors/Westshore RFC
10. Emily Belchos de Goede - Innisfil, ON - Westshore RFC
9. Justine Pelletier - Riviere-du-Loup, QC - Club de Rugby de Quebec
1. Olivia DeMerchant - Mapledale, NB - Exeter Chiefs/Halifax Tars RFC
2. Veronica Harrigan - Lucan, ON - Brantford Harlequins
3. DaLeaka Menin - Vulcan, AB - Exeter Chiefs
4. Tyson Beukeboom - Uxbridge, ON - Cowichan RFC
5. Emma Taylor - Scotsburn, NS - Halifax Rugby Football Club
6. Courtney Holtkamp - Rimbey, AB - Red Deer Titans
7. Fabiola Forteza - Quebec, QC - Club de Rugby de Quebec/Stade Bordelais
8. Gabrielle Senft - Regina, SK - Castaway Wanderers/University of Victoria Vikes
16. Emily Tuttosi - Souris, MB - Exeter Chiefs
17. Brittany Kassil - Guelph, ON - Guelph Redcoats
18. Alex Ellis - Ottawa, ON - Barrhaven Scottish/Saracens
19. Ngalula Fuamba – Notre-Dame-de-l'Île-Perrot, QC - Town of Mount Royal Rugby
20. Pamphinette Buisa - Gatineau, QC – Canada Women’s 7’s/Ottawa Irish
21. Marie Thibault - Quebec, QC - Club de Rugby de Quebec
22. Sarah-Maude Lachance - Victoriaville, QC - Lons Section Paloise Rugby Feminin / Club de Rugby de Quebec
23. Renee Gonzalez - Toronto, ON - Westshore RFC/University of Victoria Vikes