World Cup Lowdown: Wales

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Wales will be hoping for a smoother ride at the Rugby World Cup 2021 after a rollercoaster of a year.

Wales will be hoping for a smoother ride at the Rugby World Cup 2021 after a rollercoaster of a year.

After a stunning start to the 2022 TikTok Women’s Six Nations in April, Wales have since lost five consecutive Tests ahead of the start of the tournament in New Zealand this month.

However, this will be Wales’ first tournament with professional players, and Ioan Cunningham’s side are improving with every passing game.

So what can fans expect when Wales get their World Cup underway?


Wales enjoyed a brilliant start to the year. They beat Ireland 27-19 away from home at the end of March to get their 2022 TikTok Women’s Six Nations campaign off to the perfect start and followed it up with another impressive come-from-behind victory over Scotland.

Next was England, and despite losing 58-5, Cunningham’s side impressed with a passionate performance that pushed Simon Middleton’s side all the way.

They did the same in a 33-5 defeat against France at Cardiff Arms Park, but Wales struggled to regain their form from earlier in the year after that.

Defeats against Italy, Canada, and another loss against England were to follow, though this time Middleton’s team beat them 73-7.

Cunningham said: “We’re pleased with the squad we’ve settled on, and we’re looking forward to how we can perform in New Zealand.

“I can’t wait, I just want to get on with it. It’s been a big build-up so it’s important that what we do next is right and we get those steps in place before we face Scotland.”

How they qualified

Wales qualified automatically for the 2021 World Cup in New Zealand as one of the top seven finishers at the 2017 tournament.

Key players

Jasmine Joyce is one of the most exciting players in world rugby, and Wales will need her at her very best in New Zealand.

She was front and centre when Wales were at their strongest during the early stages of the 2022 TikTok Women’s Six Nations.

Joyce is one of seven Bristol Bears stars to be called up to the Wales squad, so she will feel right at home alongside some of the top players from the Allianz Premier 15s at the World Cup.

Her pace and delightful step will be crucial if Wales are going to unlock the world’s best defences in New Zealand.

Vice-captain Hannah Jones will also be a key attacking threat for Wales.

The 39-cap Gloucester-Hartpury centre has been one of Cunningham’s standout backs over the last 12 months.

Wales can also rely on experienced forwards such as Siwan Lillicrap, Carys Phillips, Sioned Harries and Alisha Butchers.

Squad news

Cunningham’s 32-strong squad features 18 forwards and 14 backs, with Siwan Lillicrap named as captain and Hannah Jones vice-captain.

Elinor Snowsill is the most experienced member of the squad with 67 caps, but there was room for some exciting young stars as well.

Sisilia Tuipulotu has impressed in her four caps, while Carys Williams-Morris also made the cut having previously represented England internationally.

Backs: Keira Bevan (44), Lleucu George (10), Hannah Jones (39), Jasmine Joyce (27), Kerin Lake (38), Ffion Lewis (24), Lisa Neumann (27), Lowri Norkett (2), Kayleigh Powell (11), Elinor Snowsill (67), Niamh Terry (7), Meg Webb (9), Robyn Wilkins (59), Carys Williams-Morris (2)

Forwards: Alisha Butchers (38), Alex Callender (19), Gwen Crabb (25), Georgia Evans (12), Kat Evans (3), Abbie Fleming (4), Cerys Hale (41), Sioned Harries (65), Cara Hope (21), Natalia John (29), Kelsey Jones (29), Bethan Lewis (29), Siwan Lillicrap (47), Carys Phillips (60), Gwenllian Pyrs (21), Donna Rose (12), Caryl Thomas (60), Sisilia Tuipulotu (4)


Wales will get their World Cup campaign underway with a mouth-watering Pool A clash against Scotland on Sunday 9 October in Whangarei. Cunningham’s team claimed victory by five points when the sides last met in the TikTok Women’s Six Nations in April and are just one place above Scotland in the world rankings.

That will be followed on Saturday 15 October by a clash with tournament hosts New Zealand, with the Black Ferns currently ranked second in the world.

Their group stage will come to an end on Saturday 22 October when they take on Australia.