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Rugby - 19. March 2015.

Wales Women make changes for Italian job

Wales Women have made nine changes, five positional, for Saturday's Six Nations clash against Italy at Stadio Plebiscito in Padua, for the final round of the championship.

In the backs scrum half Keira Bevan and centre Kerin Lake will get their first starts of the campaign. Bevan swaps places with Amy Day who moves to the bench but Lake's inclusion ensures a reshuffle in the outside backs.

Centre Adi Taviner moves to the left wing from outside centre with Laurie Harries replacing Dyddgu Hywel at full back with the latter missing out altogether from the match-day squad.

Two changes to the pack also ensures a re-shuffle of the engine room. Prop Caryl Thomas is a straight swap for Jenny Davies but Rebecca Rowe's recall to the second row triggers three positional changes to the side which lost to Ireland on Sunday at St Helens.

Captain Rachel Taylor moves back to the flank from second row with Sioned Harries moving from the side of the scrum to No.8 which sees Shona Powell Hughes revert to her more accustomed role of lock.

Explaining the changes he has made, Wales head coach Rhys Edwards, said: "Italy are good up front and possess a set of forwards who can be destructive so we have to combat that with our own ball carriers.

"We've tinkered with the backline but when that combination has been on the field it's looked pretty dangerous. Kerin compliments Gemma [Rowland] well in midfield. We've eased Kerin into games and gradually given her more game time but she has earned her starting spot while the last game of the championship is an ideal time to give Keira an opportunity as well.”

The defeat to Ireland saw Wales drop from second to fourth in the points table and Italy will not be short of confidence after beating tournament contenders France in a huge upset last weekend.

"We started the Six Nations well with two good wins. We have to re-discover that focus and belief – if we do that we should be able to get the job done,” concluded Edwards.

Sat 21st March, Padua, KO 5.30pm
Wales Women v Italy Women

15 Laurie Harries (Llandaff North/Blues)
14 Elen Evans (Waterloo/Scarlets)
13 Gemma Rowland (Wasps/Dragons)
12 Kerin Lake (Skewen/Ospreys)
11 Adi Taviner (Skewen/Ospreys)
10 Elinor Snowsill (Dragons)
9 Keira Bevan (Skewen/Ospreys);

1 Caryl Thomas (Bath Ladies/Scarlets)
2 Carys Phillips (Skewen/Ospreys)
3 Catrin Edwards (Llandaff North/Scarlets)
4 Rebecca Rowe (London Welsh/Dragons)
5 Shona Powell Hughes (Skewen/Ospreys)
6 Sian Williams (Worcester/Dragons)
7 Rachel Taylor (Bristol Ladies/Dragons - Capt)
8 Sioned Harries (Whitland/Scarlets)

16 Amy Lawrence (Skewen/Ospreys)
17 Jenny Davies (Caernarfon/Blues)
18 Amy Evans (Skewen/Ospreys)
19 Jenny Hawkins (Llandaff North/Blues)
20 Melissa Clay (Pencoed/Ospreys)
21 Amy Day (Llandaff North/Dragons);
22 Hannah Jones (Penybanc/Scarlets)
23 Ffion Bowen (Maesteg Celtic/Ospreys)

Graeme Gillespie
Wales Women Media Manager
07740 612790

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