Celtic Challenge: Wales include five internationals for new tournament – NewsEverything Wales

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Celtic Challenge squad
Over 60 players, aged from 17 to 37, have been involved in the training squad at the National Centre of Excellence

Five senior internationals have been included in Wales’ squad for the inaugural Celtic Challenge.

The tournament will see development teams from Wales, Ireland and Scotland play each other in home and away matches leading up to the Six Nations.

World Cup squad members Abbie Fleming and Kat Evans are included in the 42-player squad, along with Caitlin Lewis, Lauren Smyth and Teleri Wyn Davies.

Wales’ first game is against Thistles at Scotstoun, Glasgow on Sunday.

The other players include representatives from Welsh clubs, universities, colleges, international age-grade players, along with those who play for England’s Allianz Premier 15s sides.

The Celtic Challenge is backed by World Rugby with the aim of boosting the competitiveness of the elite women’s game.

It also acts as a pathway to international level, something Welsh women’s rugby has been lacking in recent years.

Wales are led by Wales forwards coach Mike Hill with Liza Burgess and Rhys Pritchard as assistants.

Kat Evans
Saracens hooker Kat Evans has been capped four times by Wales

Hill says he has been impressed with what he has seen so far.

“The players have really bought into what we are re trying to do. There has been huge improvement in a short space of time and given the difference in age and experience across the squad,” he said.

“The programme is already paying dividends in terms of talent identification and allowing players to develop within a performance environment.

“There are certainly a number of girls who could well step up to the next level of rugby from this group.”

But Hill adds there will be no pressure on the results of this tournament.

“It is all about development and asking the players to show us what they can do with a smile on their face,” he said.

“Hopefully then, some good performances will follow, results too but that is certainly not the key factor this season.”

Wales Celtic Challenge training squad

Forwards: Katie Carr (Pontyclun Falcons), Rosie Carr (Pontyclun Falcons/Cardiff Met), Chelsea Chesters (Whitland), Abbey Constable (Gloucester Hartpury/Cheltenham Tigers), Teleri Wyn Davies (Caernarfon), Danielle Dinapoli (Cheltenham Tigers), Kat Evans (Saracens), Tara Finnegan (Pontyclun Falcons), Abbie Fleming (Exeter Chiefs), Chloe Fletcher (Bath Ladies), Melissa Gnojek (Seven Sisters), Dali Hopkins (Ospreys/Greyhounds), Gwennan Hopkins (Hartpury College), Katie Jenkins (Pontyclun Falcons), Erin Jones (RGC/ Nant Conwy), Sara Jones (Pontyclun Falcons), Charlotte Mundy (Pontyclun Falcons), Ffion Owen (Pontyclun Falcons/Cardiff Met), Kira Philpott (Llandaff North), Alaw Pyrs (RGC U18s, Nant Conwy), Jessica Rogers (Ospreys U18s, Cardiff Met), Jenni Scoble (Worcester Warriors), Scarlett Thomas-Thompson (DMP Sharks/Durham University), Molly Wakely (Dragons U18s/Nelson Belles)

Backs: Leanne Burnell (Pontyclun Falcons), Lowri Davies (Seven Sisters/Cheltenham Tigers), Meg Davies (Bristol Bears), Jenna De Vera (Scarlets/Burry Port), Chelsea Jones (Nelson Belles), Caitlin Lewis (Gloucester-Hartpury), Danai Mugabe (Cardiff Met), Jade Mullen (Harlequins), Anwen Owen (Bristol Bears/Nelson Belles), Molly Philpott (Llandaff North), Molly Reardon (Dragons), Catherine Richards (Cardiff Met), Lauren Smyth (Bristol Bears), Seren Singleton (Cardiff Met), Niamh Tinman (Pontyclun Falcons), Amelia Tutt (Loughborough Lightening), Amy Williams (Dragons U18s), Chelsea Williams (Nelson Belles).



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