Skipper demands Wales Women lay down a marker at Pandy Park

First published in Sport

WALES Women's captain Rachel Taylor is asking her squad to make World Cup selection difficult for head coach Rhys Edwards by impressing against USA Women's Eagles at Cross Keys on Saturday.

Wales' preparations for the tournament, being staged in France in August, begin in earnest with a capped game at Pandy Park (kick-off 1.30pm).

And lock Taylor is hoping her team mates can blow away a few cobwebs having not played together since the Six Nations.

"This game is an opportunity to put a marker down with the World Cup in mind," said the 31-year-old forward, who plays for Bristol and the Dragons.

"The fact that it is a capped game adds a bit of spice to the game. We certainly will not be taking USA lightly as they are also preparing for the World Cup where they have been drawn against Ireland, New Zealand and Kazakhstan.

"We have obviously been training together as a squad but you can never tell where you are until you actually play.

"Most of our backs have been involved in playing sevens over the past few weeks but the forwards may be a bit ring-rusty."

Taylor expects USA to offer a stern test, pointing out they finished the last World Cup held in Guildford in seventh position, two places ahead of Wales.

She said: "As with most American sports teams, the USA's women's rugby team are a strong, physical and athletic side so it could be a case of brains versus brawn.

"Saying that, we will have to look at our own game and performance when we take on USA.

"There are a number of hotly contested areas within our side so players will be going for it to impress to ensure they get a starting spot for the first game of the World Cup when we take on hosts, France.

"It would be a huge boost to the team if we can beat USA as it will give the team confidence as we build towards the World Cup."

Wales: Laurie Harries (Llandaff North), Adi Taviner (Neath Athletic), Elen Evans (Waterloo), Rebecca de Filippo (Bristol Ladies), Dyddgu Hywel (Bristol Ladies), Elinor Snowsill (Bristol Ladies), Sian Moore (Bristol Ladies), Caryl Thomas (Bath Ladies), Lowri Harries (Neath Athletic), Catrin Edwards (Bristol Ladies), Jenny Hawkins (Llandaff North), Rachel Taylor (captain, Bristol Ladies), Catrina Nicholas (Llandaff North), Nia Davies (Bristol Ladies), Sioned Harries (Llandaff North)

Replacements:

Carys Phillips (Bristol Ladies), Megan York (Blaenau Gwent), Cerys Hale (Pontyclun), Shona Powell, Hughes (Neath Athletic), Sian Williams (Worcester), Robyn Wilkins (Llandaff North), Rafiuke Taylor (Pontyclun), Philippa Tuttiett (Bristol Ladies)

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