Jones to captain Wales in World Cup opener with Lillicrap told to make big bench impact

LEADER: Hannah Jones will captain Wales against Scotland
LEADER: Hannah Jones will captain Wales against Scotland

HANNAH Jones will lead Wales Women in their World Cup opener with captain Siwan Lillicrap having to settle for a spot on the bench against Scotland.

Ioan Cunningham’s side have no margin for error on Sunday (kick-off 5.45am) in their first game of a group that also contains hosts New Zealand and Australia.

Sioned Harries gets the nod ahead of Lillicrap in the back row while Newport’s Cerys Hale, who is at her fourth World Cup, is a replacement.

Meg Webb starts alongside Jones in midfield after missing last season’s Six Nations with glandular fever while lock Georgia Evans makes a first start since breaking her arm in February.

Cunningham said: “There have been a lot of selection headaches, not only to get the squad down to 32, but to also name that first 15 and matchday 23.

“Having said that, we are super excited about what lies ahead and we can’t wait to get going."

“It was a tough decision to finalise the side. There were a lot of discussions on top of watching them in detail whilst training and how they went against Canada and England.

"But one thing we are clear on, is that it’s about the matchday 23 and not just the 15 who start on Sunday.

"It’s about how we can impact the game in different ways. We feel the starting 15 we have gone with, plus the replacements we have named are more than capable of getting the result that we need."

Wales: Kayleigh Powell; Jasmine Joyce, Megan Webb, Hannah Jones (captain), Lisa Neumann; Elinor Snowsill, Ffion Lewis; Cara Hope, Carys Phillips, Donna Rose, Natalia John, Georgia Evans, Alisha Butchers, Alex Callender, Sioned Harries

Replacements: Kelsey Jones, Caryl Thomas, Cerys Hale, Siwan Lillicrap, Bethan Lewis, Keira Bevan, Robyn Wilkins, Lowri Norkett.