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Wales Online
Wales Online
Katie Sands

Wales make one change and reshuffle pack to face Scotland in Women's Six Nations amid bid to back up huge win

Wales head coach Ioan Cunningham has made one personnel change and two positional switches for the trip to Scotland in the second round of the Women's Six Nations on Saturday (5.30pm kick-off).

Following the 31-5 Welsh win over Ireland last weekend, Wales make their first 2023 trip away from home and will be bidding to back up their opening-round dominance by beating a newly-professional Scotland side who were defeated 58-7 by England last week.

It is difficult to know exactly how much to read into both results, though, as Ireland are a team in transition and England are head and shoulders above their Six Nations opponents. Wales, of course, narrowly beat Scotland in the pool stages of last autumn's World Cup, thanks to a decisive penalty kick by No. 9 Keira Bevan.

Wales boss Cunningham has largely kept faith with the side which ran out in front a record crowd of almost 5,000 at the Arms Park, but makes one personnel change and two positional switches in the pack due to lock Gwen Crabb's Six Nations-ending knee injury suffered in round one. Veteran No. 8 Sioned Harries, who came off the bench early against Ireland amid Crabb's injury, starts at the back of the scrum, meaning Bethan Lewis moves across the back-row to blindside flanker and Georgia Evans shifts from No. 6 to second row to partner Abbie Fleming. Openside flanker Alex Callender, who scored Wales' first of five tries last time out, retains her spot.

Gwenllian Pyrs, Kelsey Jones and Sisilia Tuipulotu, Wales' player of the match against Ireland, form the Welsh front row.

The backline remains unchanged, with captain Hannah Jones partnering Kerin Lake in midfield, and fly-half Elinor Snowsill partnering scrum-half Keira Bevan as the latter earns her 50th cap. Lisa Neumann and Carys Williams-Morris are on the wings with Courtney Keight at full-back.

Scotland head coach Bryan Easson, meanwhile, has named an unchanged squad to opt for continuity, giving his side a chance to build on some promising moments last time out.

Wales boss Cunningham said: “This team deserves the opportunity to build on the performance against Ireland for what we know will be a tough challenge away in Scotland. Scotland will still be hurting after the manner of our victory at the World Cup in New Zealand.

“While it was one of the best performances we have produced as a team in Cardiff there are plenty of areas to improve on. We have worked on those facets all week.

“The bonus-point win showed we can score tries and that is one of the areas we have targeted to improve on in this campaign. To score those tries will give us real confidence in the way we want to play and attack.

“We have been forced into one change due to Gwen Crabb’s injury and the coaches, players and staff are all incredibly disappointed for her after she worked so hard to get back on the field. Gwen will get all the support she needs from us and I know she will be back.”

Scotland boss Easson said: "We’ve gone for the same 15 and the same bench that started against England last week. We felt the performances from the starting 15 and also the replacements who brought a lot of energy, was enough to give them another opportunity to show some of the green shoots that we showed last week against England. It is an opportunity to continue that into the Wales game this weekend.

"I think from an attack point of view, we fired some good shots however can be a little more clinical when we get opportunities. From a defensive point of view we had some really good sets and England did have to work for everything that they got. We did put them under pressure, especially that first 20 and last 10. We’ve reviewed quite closely; we’ve taken a lot of the positives from that, and we put it into this weekend."

Scotland v Wales kicks off on Saturday, April 1, at the DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh (5.30pm kick-off, live on iPlayer and BBC Two).

Scotland: 15. Chloe Rollie, 14. Coreen Grant, 13. Emma Orr, 12. Meryl Smith, 11. Francesca McGhie, 10. Helen Nelson, 9. Caity Mattinson, 1. Leah Bartlett, 2. Lana Skeldon, 3. Christine Belisle, 4. Lyndsay O’Donnell, 5. Louise McMillan, 6. Rachel Malcolm (capt), 7. Rachel McLachlan, 8. Evie Gallagher.

Replacements: 16. Jodie Rettie, 17. Anne Young, 18. Elliann Clarke, 19. Eva Donaldson, 20. Eilidh Sinclair, 21. Mairi McDonald, 22. Beth Blacklock, 23. Liz Musgrove.

Wales: 15. Courtney Keight, 14. Lisa Neumann, 13. Hannah Jones (capt), 12. Kerin Lake, 11. Carys Williams-Morris, 10. Elinor Snowsill, 9. Keira Bevan, 1. Gwenllian Pyrs, 2. Kelsey Jones, 3. Sisilia Tuipulotu, 4. Abbie Fleming, 5. Georgia Evans, 6. Bethan Lewis, 7. Alex Callender, 8. Sioned Harries.

Replacements: 16. Carys Phillips, 17. Cara Hope, 18. Cerys Hale, 19. Natalia John, 20. Kate Williams, 21. Ffion Lewis, 22. Lleucu George, 23. Hannah Bluck.

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