Photo: INPHO/Oisin Keniry (Wales number eight Sioned Harries is tackled by New Zealand duo Sarah Goss and Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali)
Wales will face Hong Kong at the UCD Bowl tomorrow at 17:15 (12:15ET). While both teams are trying to win their first match of the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017, Wales is not only looking for the win, but a chance to move into the knockout rounds to play for 5th place. A bonus point win is likely and they will likely be the 7th seed.
Wales opened the WRWC2017 with a 24-12 loss to the USA and then lost in the second roung to England 56-13. Hong Kong has not scored in either of their first two matches, losing to Canada 98-0 and then to New Zealand 121-0.
Hong Kong is a developing team, who have rotated their players because of the demands in playing matches with little rest, as well as to provide the necessary experience for their players to improve.
The match will be streamed live for most of the world on http://www.rwcwomens.com/. In Wales, it will be streamed on the S4C website (plus the S4C Chwaraeon Facebook page) and, for the first time in the tournament, will be televised live on ITV4.
Wales has made nine changes from their previous match against England. Two of these changes are in the front row with loosehead Cerys Hale and tighthead Meg York supporting captain Carys Phillips at hooker. Lock Siwan Lillicrap also makes her first start of the Women’s Rugby World Cup where she will partner with Mel Clay. Shona Powell-Hughes will also start at No. 8 where she will be joined in the back row by seventeen-year-old flanker Lleucu George. Sioned Harries, who has been outstanding WRWC will be the open-side flanker.
Fullback Jodie Evans and inside centre Robyn Wilkins make their first starts of the tournament, while Jasmine Joyce and Keira Bevan return on the wing and at scrum-half respectively.
Head coach Rowland Phillips indicated that “We’ve surpassed many people’s expectations in terms of our performances against two of the world’s best teams, but we’re always looking to improve standards. We’re not content with just putting up a fight. We’re working towards winning big games.”
“Our commitment and improvement was there for everyone to see against Canada. We pushed a very good team all the way, and we’ve got to take inspiration from that.”
“The main thing now is to keep up that momentum in this competition, starting with Hong Kong. They will be out to prove a point against us, and we won’t be taking them lightly.”
Loosehead prop Gwenllian Pyrs could make her Wales debut from the bench in tomorrow’s match.
Hong Kong has made seven changes in their starting XV from the match against the Black Ferns. Five of the starters from their first match against Canada will return to start against Wales. Only Lee Ka Shun, at tighthead prop and Mak Ho are the only new starters.
Lee will be joined in the front row by Lau Nga Wun and Roycle Chan at loosehead prop and hooker respectively. Christine Gordon returns at No. 8. In the backs, Kelsie Bouttle at inside center and Adrienne Garvey, who switched from outside center to fullback are changes.
Look for Chong Ka Yan and Natasha Olson-Thorne to be impact players. Jessica Ho is also a replacement off the bench to watch.
Wales v Hong Kong: 1 Cerys Hale 2 Carys Phillips (c) 3 Meg York 4 Siwan Lillicrap 5 Mel Clay 6 Lleucu George 7 Sioned Harries 8 Shona Powell-Hughes 9 Keira Bevan 10 Elinor Snowsill 11 Jess Kavanagh-Williams 12 Robyn Wilkins 13 Gemma Rowland 14 Jasmine Joyce 15 Jodie Evans 16 Kelsey Jones 17 Gwenllian Pyrs 18 Caryl Thomas 19 Rebecca Rowe 20 Rachel Taylor 21 Sian Moore 22 Elen Evans 23 Dyddgu Hywel
Hong Kong v Wales:1 Lau Nga Wun 2 Roycle Chan 3 Lee Ka Shun 4 Chow Mei-nam (C) 5 Chan Ka Yan 6 Christy Cheng 7 Chan Tsz-ching 8 Christine Gordon 9 Mak Ho-yee 10 Rose Hopewell-Fong 11 Chong Ka Yan 12 Kelsie Bouttle 13 Natasha Olson-Thorne 14 Lau Sze Wa 15 Adrienne Garvey (VC) 16 Pun Wai Yan 17 Wong Yuen Shan 18 So Karen Hoi 19 Seure Amelie 20 Tsang Sin Yan 21 Ho Jessica 22 Lee Tsz Ting 23 Kwong Sau Yan