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Wounded Wales ring the changes for France after ‘drawing line in sand’

CHANCE: Courtney Keight starts for Wales against France <i>(Image: PA)</i>

CHANCE: Courtney Keight starts for Wales against France (Image: PA)

WALES have rung the changes for Sunday’s Women’s Six Nations clash with France after their hammering in Ireland.

Ioan Cunningham has made five changes to his XV for the fixture at Cardiff Arms Park (kick-off 3.15pm) against the title hopefuls.

Catherine Richards will make her Wales debut on the wing and becomes the fifth new cap during the campaign, with fly-half Mollie Wilkinson poised to follow suit off the bench.

Full-back Kayleigh Powell will make her first start for her country since facing New Zealand in the World Cup in 2022.

Courtney Keight is named on the wing after impressing off the bench against England and Ireland.

Experienced lock Natalia John partners Abbie Fleming in the second row, while Georgia Evans moves to number eight alongside vice-captain Alex Callender and Alisha Butchers in an experienced back row.

Sian Jones returns at scrum-half to partner Lleucu George at half back and Carys Cox moves to partner skipper Jones in the midfield.

Wales host the French and then finish the campaign against Italy at Principality Stadium, with Cunningham knowing they must up their game.

“France are one of the best teams in the world, they are real force in the world game and are a major challenge for us and they are favourites for this Test match,” said the head coach.

“We have all taken a long hard look at ourselves this week and have stripped our game back and focused on what we have to do. We have drawn a line in the sand, and we need a performance at Cardiff Arms Park.

“Playing in front of our own supporters provides us with an opportunity to show who we are, and we have nothing to lose. We are a good rugby team and we have selected a squad to meet the challenge ahead of us.

“Catherine Richards has had to wait for her Wales cap and will be the fifth new cap during this campaign. She deserves her opportunity having shown what a threat she can be during the Celtic Challenge and in the PWR.

“Kayleigh and Courtney have impressed and made an impact when they have come on and deserve their places in the starting line-up.”

Wales: Kayleigh Powell, Catherine Richards, Hannah Jones (captain), Carys Cox, Courtney Keight, Lleucu George, Sian Jones; Gwenllian Pyrs, Carys Phillips, Sisilia Tuipulotu, Natalia John, Abbie Fleming, Alisha Butchers, Alex Callender (vice-captain), Georgia Evans.

Replacements: Molly Reardon, Abbey Constable, Donna Rose, Kate Williams, Gwennan Hopkins, Keira Bevan, Mollie Wilkinson, Jasmine Joyce.

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