Phillips raring for Women’s Six Nations challenge

Rowland Phillips hopes that the 2019 Women’s Six Nations will be the beginning of a new era for Wales.

Rowland Phillips hopes that the 2019 Women’s Six Nations will be the beginning of a new era for Wales.

A newly revamped regional programme reshaped the domestic structure of the league, while measures were implemented to facilitate the movement of up-and-coming players into the national set-up.

And former dual-code international Phillips has already put wholehearted faith in the plans, the head coach called up 20 uncapped players for their Autumn Test series in November last year.

It’s a trend he again committed to when selecting his Six Nations squad – with several recently identified regional players, including Morfudd Ifans, Brea Leung and Gwenllian Pyrs, all making the cut in the final 32 – and one he is particularly excited about.

“We’re continuing to develop new talent and lots of rising stars feature in this year’s Six Nations squad. I’m hoping they can really benefit from experiencing playing in a major tournament this year,” he said.

“But we must start turning our development into results.

“It’s easier said than done. There are moments when something happens that completely changes the course of the game and we are not prepared for us.

“We hope to improve on this in the future.”

Wales face reigning Grand Slam champions France in the curtain-raiser for their 2019 Championship campaign, a trip that Phillips admits will be a tough one.

But with two wins from their last three internationals, and victory over France in 2016 still fresh enough in the memory to draw inspiration from, the 53-year-old believes that anything is possible.

“We’ve got nothing to fear this year. The girls need to focus and show what they can do on the pitch,” he added.

“Every time we have played out in France, it has been in front of a full stadium full of enthusiastic fans. It is a brilliant atmosphere and it is a good experience for everybody involved.”