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Taylor back in for Wales

04th February 2014 16:38

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Wales Women Rugby generic

Back: Rachel Taylor

Captain Rachel Taylor returns to the Wales Women's starting lineup as one of three changes to take on Ireland at Ashbourne on Friday.

Taylor will pack down at number eight, Shona Powell Hughes will start in the second row while Rebecca de Filippo gets the nod at centre. The trio's inclusion causes four positional changes from the side that lost narrowly to Italy at Aberavon on Sunday.

Centre Elen Evans moves to the wing from midfield while Robyn Wilkins moves out one spot to outside centre. Catrina Nicholas switches from number eight to flanker while Nia Davies moves from the second-row to the back-row.

Flanker Sian Williams and winger Laurie Harries drop down to the replacements bench.

Wales head coach Rhys Edwards believes the changes he has made gives the starting line-up a more balanced outfit compared to the side that lost 11-12 to Italy on Sunday.

"It's great to welcome back Tails (Rachel Taylor) as I think we missed her leadership a bit. The three who come in all made an impact from the bench against Italy so it's good to have that strength in depth," said Edwards.

"The changes we've made in the forwards gives us a much better balanced pack. It's all about getting the combinations right. We've moved Nia Davies - who I thought was exceptional against Italy - back to the back row from the second row while in the backs we've brought in Rebecca [de Filippo] so Robyn [Wilkins] will play at 13."

Edwards is under no illusions as to the size of the task that awaits his squad, particularly as Ireland romped to a comfortable 59-0 victory over Scotland last weekend to get their defence of the crown off to a winning start.

"We are fully aware of what Ireland can do and where their major threats come from. We just have to concentrate on trying to nullify their threats and take our chances when they come," added Edwards.

Wales Women:

15 Dyddgu Hywel (Bristol Ladies)

14 Elen Evans (Waterloo), 13 Robyn Wilkins (Llandaff North), 12 Rebecca de Filippo (Bristol Ladies), 11 Philippa Tuttiett (Bristol Ladies), 10 Elinor Snowsill (Bristol Ladies), 9 Amy Day (Llandaff North), 8 Rachel Taylor (c) (Bristol Ladies), 7 Nia Davies (Cardiff Met), 6 Catrina Nicholas (Llandaff North), 5 ,Shona Powell Hughes (Neath Athletic), 4 Jenny Hawkins (Llandaff North), 3 Catrin Edwards (Bristol Ladies), 2 Lowri Harries (Neath Athletic), 1 Megan York (Blaenau Gwent)
Replacements: 16 Carys Phillips (Bristol Ladies), 17 Jenny Davies (Waterloo), 18 Caryl Thomas (Bath Ladies), 19 Sian Williams (Worcester), 20 Sioned Harries (Llandaff North), 21 Sian Moore (Bristol Ladies), 22 Laurie Harries (Llandaff North), 23 Ffion Bowen (Maesteg Celtic)

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