Newport propping pair get Wales call-ups for World Cup

SELECTED: Props Cerys Hale and Sisilia Tuipulotu (inset) will play for Wales at the World Cup
SELECTED: Props Cerys Hale and Sisilia Tuipulotu (inset) will play for Wales at the World Cup

THE Newport propping pair of Cerys Hale and Sisilia Tuipulotu have been named in Wales' squad for the World Cup.

Hale, who has switched from loosehead to tighthead, will appear in her third World Cup.

The Dragons academy coach, who plays her club rugby for Gloucester-Hartpury, was selected for the 2014 tournament but failed to make an appearance but then played three times in 2017.

Hale provides some experience up front while her fellow Gloucester forward Tuipulotu is selected after a rapid rise over the last year in which she has been converted into a tighthead prop after making her Test bow as a lock.

Head coach Ioan Cunningham has named a 32-strong squad for the tournament in New Zealand next month.

Experienced number eight Siwan Lillicrap has got the nod as skipper with centre Hannah Jones her vice-captain.

Cunningham said: "Siwan is a brilliant captain on and off field. She has a great tactical mind and an understanding of what calls to make at what moment.

"Her communication with referees and her game management skills are second to none. She certainly benefits the team in many ways.

"Having said that, we are growing our leadership group and Hannah has led the team by example against Canada and England this summer.

"Her work ethic is high and she is going to be a strong leader too. Hannah is learning a lot from Siwan and the two have worked together in recent weeks. The pair complement each other in many aspects."

Cunningham said he had tough calls to make when naming his squad for the tournament, which pits them against the hosts, Australia and Scotland in the pool stages.

"We are delighted with the group we've settled on, we are really looking forward to seeing what we can do when we touch down in New Zealand next week," he said.

"There were a few robust discussions and you are always looking at combinations, scenarios we could face over a long period in New Zealand and importantly, ways you can get the best players on the pitch but overall we are pleased with where we are.

"We've had two tough warm-up matches which was exactly what we needed, and we're just very excited at what's in front of us."

Wales kick off against the Scots on Sunday, October 9 before facing New Zealand then the Aussies.

The 12-team tournament is split into three pools with the top two progressing to the quarter-finals along with the two best third-placed sides.

Wales head into the tournament on a five-game losing streak after Six Nations losses to England, France and Italy and warm-up defeats to Canada and the English.

Wales' Rugby World Cup squad

Backs: Keira Bevan (Bristol Bears), Lleucu George (Gloucester-Hartpury), Hannah Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury), Jasmine Joyce (Bristol Bears), Kerin Lake (Gloucester-Hartpury), Lisa Neumann (Gloucester-Hartpury), Ffion Lewis (University of Worcester Warriors), Lowri Norkett (University of Worcester Warriors), Kayleigh Powell (Bristol Bears), Elinor Snowsill (Bristol Bears), Niamh Terry (University of Worcester Warriors), Megan Webb (Bristol Bears), Robyn Wilkins (Exeter Chiefs), Carys Williams-Morris (Loughborough-Lightning)

Forwards: Alisha Butchers (Bristol Bears), Alex Callender (University of Worcester Warriors), Gwen Crabb (Gloucester-Hartpury), Georgia Evans (Saracens), Kat Evans (Saracens), Abbie Fleming (Exeter Chiefs), Cerys Hale (Gloucester-Hartpury), Sioned Harries (University of Worcester Warriors), Cara Hope (Gloucester-Hartpury), Natalia John (University of Worcester Warriors), Kelsey Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury), Bethan Lewis (Gloucester-Hartpury), Gwenllian Pyrs (Bristol Bears), Donna Rose (Saracens), Siwan Lillicrap (Gloucester-Hartpury), Carys Phillips (University of Worcester Warriors), Caryl Thomas (University of Worcester Warriors), Sisilia Tuipulotu (Gloucester-Hartpury)

Wales' Rugby World Cup pool games

Sunday 9 October – Wales v Scotland – KO 5.45am UK time

Sunday 16 October – Wales v New Zealand – KO 3.15am UK time

Saturday 22 October – Australia v Wales – KO 2.15am UK time