Wales beat the Crawshay’s 8 – 29 in the first ever women’s Crawshay’s game, as part of Wales’s Autumn International series and competing for the Rose Crawshay Challenge Bowl.
Wales had come into the fixture off the back of impressive wins against Ireland and Scotland in the previous two weeks and their cohesion was evident in the first half at Eugene Cross Park, Ebbw Vale. They flew out of the blocks with centre Kayleigh Powell first to cross the white wash in the first minute of the game at Eugene Cross Park, the try converted by Bassaleg School science teacher Robyn Wilkins. The opening score was closely followed by a touchdown from New Tredegar’s Paige Randall before some good handling and team work produced tries for Caitlin Lewis, Wilkins again adding the extras, and Courtney Keight taking the score to 24-0.
Crawshay’s’ impressive young outside half Ellie Green, from Harlequins, slotted a drop goal to bring the score to 24-3 within the first quarter of the game before hooker Molly Kelly crashed over after a superb line-out take by Abbie Fleming taking Wales into the half time break 29-3 to the good.
Crawshay’s received a rallying half time talk from the coaches, former Wales captains Liza Burgess and Rachel Taylor and had the conditions with them in the second half. Crawshay’s centre Dyddgu Hywel, also named in the Barbarians’ squad for the following weekend, scored the only try of the second half, the final score remaining 29-8 in what was a thoroughly entertaining encounter.
Wales forwards coach Geraint Lewis believes his side’s cohesion is growing each week as they head towards the Principality Stadium meeting with the Barbarians next Saturday.
Lewis said, “As we have done throughout the autumn, we gave a number of opportunities to players and they produced an excellent first half, playing some simple, effective rugby. We built up a good lead, we didn’t quite keep up the momentum in the second half but credit to Crawshay’s, they came back and were very competitive at the contact area.
“Overall we’re very pleased with our performance and result. You can see confidence of girls has improved week on week, our cohesion is getting better and better and we’re developing both individually and as a team.”
Lewis added, “There’s some real competition for places now for the Barbarians game which is what we want as a management group. As an international player, it doesn’t come much better than doing yourselves proud at your national stadium. We’ll have a tough job in selecting the side and the lucky 23 will have a brilliant opportunity to produce a performance they can be proud of.”
Crawshay’s Head Coach Liza Burgess, heaped praise on her squad who had only got together Wednesday evening, had gelled quickly in typical Crawshay’s style and given Wales a real test in the Crawshay’s first ever fixture against a tier one rugby nation.
Burgess said “the players were excellent today and gave everything. It took us a bit of time to get up to speed with Wales, but once we had the conditions in our favour in the second half we really gave a good account of ourselves. All of the players were aware of the historic nature of the fixture and were proud to make history for such an iconic club. They really left everything out there to try and be the first winners of the Rose Crawshay Bowl, but Wales were deserved victors this time . We wish Wales well in their fixture against the Barbarians next week in the Principality Stadium.”
The Rose Crawshay Challenge Bowl was presented to the Wales captain Siwan Lillicrap by Crawshay’s Patron, Huw Crawshay.
The Crawshay’s squad also took part in a girls rugby activation session in between their training sessions at Ebbw Vale. You can watch a video of the event here by clicking on the link below…..
Wales: Paige Randall (Cardiff Blues); Lisa Neumann (RGC), Courtney Keight (Ospreys), Kayleigh Powell (Ospreys), Caitlin Lewis (Scarlets); Robyn Wilkins (Cardiff Blues), Keira Bevan (Ospreys); Gwenllian Pyrs (RGC), Molly Kelly (RGC), Cerys Hale (Cardiff Blues), Natalia John (Ospreys), Abbie Fleming (Cardiff Blues), Georgia Evans (Cardiff Blues), Robyn Lock (Ospreys), Siwan Lillicrap (capt, Ospreys).
Replacements: Kelsey Jones (Ospreys), Gwenllian Jenkins (Scarlets), Sarah Lawrence (Scarlets), Alex Callender (Scarlets), Gwen Crabb (Ospreys), Ffion Lewis (Scarlets), Lauren Smyth (Ospreys), Angharad de Smet (Scarlets).
Crawshay’s: Dyddgu Hywel (Gloucester-Hartpury), Catherine Richards (Llandaff North), Chantelle Miell (Saracens), Jodie Evans (Swansea), Ellie Green (Harlequins), Jade Knight (Saracens); Meg York (Ynysddu), Emily Tuttosi (Loughborough Lightning), Katryn Buggy (Gloucester Hartpury), Beth Stafford (Waterloo), Emily Maisey (Wasps), Poppy Leitch (Bristol), Catrina Bowen (Burry Port), Shona Powell-Hughes (Gloucester-Hartpury).
Replacements: Gill Bourke (Harlequins), Kim Jones (Pontyclun Falcons), Brea Leung (Waterloo), Sian Williams (Gloucester-Hartpury), Kay Searcy (Richmond), Rhi Parker (Bristol), Lleucu George (Whitland), Rosie Mankee (Swansea).