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Wales Women take no fear approach to France challenge

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WALES women will take on a “no fear” approach for their Six Nations opener with France on Saturday evening as head coach Rowland Phillips targets challenging the tournament’s elite.

A trip to Montpellier is a tough start for Wales, but a young squad is relishing the chance to play in front of a hostile crowd on the back of a successful autumn campaign.

Phillips’ side pushed a top-class Canada outfit all the way in November and also claimed victories over South Africa and Hong Kong. It all paints a positive picture for the team ahead of facing France.

“We came out of the autumn having moved our game on a bit. Our conditioning levels improved and on the whole, everything was just better,” said Phillips. “The skillset of the players also went up and if anything we’d have liked to have continued playing in November.

“When we came back in to start preparing for the Six Nations, the key thing for us was to pick that momentum back up and continue from where we left off at the end of last year. It feels like that is exactly what has happened.”

Meanwhile, Phillips has added two players to his squad ahead of the France clash. RGC’s Teleri Davies – who can play at lock or No 8 – bolsters the options. Davies made her Wales debut last season against Scotland and replaces a key figure in Sioned Harries who suffered an ankle injury in the Six Nations warm-up clash with Ireland which required surgery.

Uncapped Cardiff Blues prop Danielle Dinapoli comes in for Brea Leung who has been ruled out of the tournament due to a shoulder injury.

Wales captain and hooker Carys Phillips said: “France will be a very tough game, especially away from home. We have a lot of young players in our squad, but they are hungry for that challenge.

“I feel we have made a massive step forward from this time last year and I’m also really excited to play in front of a massive crowd. It will be an excellent experience all round.

“There is absolutely no fear in our squad and that’s brilliant for us.”

Rowland Phillips added: “France beat New Zealand in the autumn and that has made everyone sit up and take notice. We know France are strong anyway, but that result certainly lifted an eyebrow.

“The tournament will be game by game, but we need to measure ourselves by results as well as performances. That’s important for us. We want to reach the World Cup in two years with a young but experienced squad of players.

“The target for us is to move up the table. There are teams in the competition we have beaten before and beaten recently, so we need to be confident of our abilities.

“The Six Nations table always tends to split into two groups. We need to be in the first of those.”

On the prospect of facing Wales, France captain Gaelle Hermet said: “Our match against Wales is our first and therefore most important. They will come with great commitment and determination.

“Wales will want to beat us in Montpellier and it will be a very complicated match but one we will be ready for.”

Wales Women take on France at GGL Stadium, Montpellier on Saturday evening. The match will be shown live on S4C (8pm GMT) and on France Télévisions (9pm local time).

Tickets for Wales Women v England (Sunday, Feb 24, 12.30pm) and Ireland (Sunday, March 17, 1.30pm) are on sale now from Cardiff Blues box office online and to personal callers.

Sport

Goodwick bow out of West Wales Cup

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GOODWICK United bowed out of the West Wales Cup as they were beaten 1-0 by South Gower on Saturday (Dec 4).

The West Wales Premier League side travelled to Pembrokeshire on the back of four straight wins, including their 21-0 demolition of Hendy in the second round of the competition.

This time though they came up against a Goodwick United who were yet to taste defeat this season.

The only goal of the game came sixteen minutes in as Ieuan Priede headed South Gower ahead.

Goodwick had a number of chances throughout the game but were unable to find an equaliser.

Nathan Greene and Johnny Horgan were both brought on to try and change the outcome but their opponents held on to book their place in the next round.

On Saturday, December 11, Goodwick return to Division 1 action with a trip to St Ishmaels.

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Carew go through in extra time

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CAREW needed extra time to beat Tumble to book their place in the next round of the West Wales Cup on Saturday (Dec 4).

Shaun Whitfield had put Carew ahead at the end of first half stoppage time but just four minutes into the second half, Trystan Leech pulled Tumble level.

Jordan Richards then scored Carew’s second to put them back ahead and Whitfield’s second goal looked to have sealed the visitors’ passage into the last sixteen.

However, Leech grabbed his second five minutes from time to give the home side hope of forcing the game into extra time.

And Leech completed his hat trick in the 92nd minute to make it 3-3 and to ensure the teams would be playing another 30 minutes.

In the first period of extra time it was Carew who got the goal to put them back in the lead with Harvey Langston scoring.

Tumble were unable to find a way back this time and Joe Williams’ goal two minutes from the end secured the win for the Rooks.

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Narberth seconds earn bonus point win over Aber

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NARBERTH seconds (also known as Narberth Athletic) travelled to Aberystwyth as they looked to leapfrog Newcastle Emlyn at the top of the West Wales Conference League.

There was a gale blowing straight down the pitch from the clubhouse, which made attractive rugby difficult in such cold weather conditions.

Narberth lost the toss and played with the wind. They put the home side under pressure for most of the first period using the elements to their advantage and scored two good tries through scrum half Jordan James and livewire flanker Dylan Walsh and, converted by Shane Rossiter but was a 12 point advantage enough going into the second half?

Narberth coach James Merriman sent on two heavyweight replacements at half time in Daf Walters and Jac Norcross to help carry the ball against the elements.

The tactics worked superbly with Walters rumbling over for two tries and centre Ryan Scourfield rounding off a tremendous second half performance for the young Otters going over under the posts to put the score beyond doubt and an excellent bonus point win.

After the game and changing out of their playing strip, the boys then put on their Santa outfits for the Christmas social and long drive home.

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