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Wales fired up for season

By Alison Donnelly.

Wales head coach Jason Lewis has named his first training squad of the season with six uncapped players included. The 34-strong squad will be used to select players for a November test friendly against Sweden and also for the 6 Nations early next year.

The squad selection comes after a strong season for Wales in which they won the Triple Crown and defeated England for the first time. However Lewis believes the season could have been even better.

"We can look back and see that it was the most successful year in women's rugby but in my coach's mind, I'm still left with what could have been a grand slam," he said, referring to the defeat against the Tricolores, before adding: "I think there is still more in the tank."

Mel Berry continues as captain of the side and believes last season will stand the girls in good stead as they go into World Cup season.

"Winning the Triple Crown and beating England was a good stepping stone for us. It gave us a lot of self belief in our ability to take every game at a time and win those games. Once again this season, we will look to play our autumn and Six Nations games to the best of our ability while using them as a stepping stone towards the world cup at the end of the season."

Lewis added that choosing 34 players was a deliberate ploy to help his team develop.

"It's a strong squad and we're probably flying in the face in terms of national squads, as we've increased the group to 34. I want to create a really competitive environment within the squad so no-one feels their place is secure. I think the squad is moving in right direction," said Lewis.

"We aspire to be world champions. We're not so stupid as to think that is an easy task, it will be very tough," he admitted.

"It will take a lot of work and lot of effort on my part, of the players and management to get us competitive on the world stage but we are committed to that so who knows what can happen?"

Talented Cardiff Quins fly-half (pictured) Elinor Snowsill is one of the uncapped players in the squad who is hoping to impress the national selectors. She captained the national Under 20s side last season and has made rapid strides since switching codes from football.

"It's such a privilege to be here with the girls and just to be part of preparations. Within the squad we're all positive. We're obviously thinking of the World Cup but there are a number of stepping stones to cross before we get there with autumn internationals and the Six Nations. Hopefully we learn from those games but the expectation is to get to the final."

* uncapped player

Wales Women training squad:


Mellissa Berry (capt, Blaydon), Jenny Davies (Waterloo), Claire Horgan (Saracens), Louise Horgan (Saracens), Hannah Roberts (UWIC), Catrin Edwards (Cardiff Quins), Becky Newton* (Cardiff Quins), Rhian Bowden (UWIC), Gemma Hallett (Pontyclun), Rachel Taylor (Cardiff Quins), Claire Donovan (Saracens), Beth Hawke (Bristol Ladies), Jamie Kift (Bristol Ladies), Carys John (UWIC), Catrina Nicholas (Cardiff Quins), Hannah Torangi (UWIC), Lisa Newton* (UWIC)


Amy Day (Bristol Ladies), Laura Prosser (Cardiff Quins), Laura Marsh* (Woodbridge), Awen Thomas (Cardiff Quins), Naomi Thomas (Cardiff Quins), Elinor Snowsill* (Cardiff Quins), Clare Flowers (Bristol Ladies), Rachel Poolman (UWIC), Kaye Rees* (Harlequins), Ceri Redman* (UWIC), Heledd Stephens (UWIC), Louise Rickard (Woodbridge), Hayley Baxter (Cardiff Quins), Non Evans (Clifton), MAred Evans (UWIC), Aimee Young (UWIC), Alison Wright (Oakmeadians).