Wales Women: Warren Abrahams says cohesion is ultimate goal


Lisa Neumann
Sale Sharks wing Lisa Neumann is part of the Wales squad

Head coach Warren Abrahams says the “ultimate goal is to develop cohesion” as Wales Women begin a World Cup year.

It was a first opportunity for the South Africa-born coach to meet Wales’ players, many of whom have impressed him in the Premier 15s, where 90 per cent of the squad play their rugby.

“They’re making big statements and we’re really proud of them,” he said.

Abrahams, whose previous job was as the USA Women’s assistant sevens coach, is joined by former Wales captain Rachel Taylor and former Ireland international Sophie Spence in Wales’ new-look coaching team.

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He felt his first training camp was a big success.

“The main thing was to learn more about the players. The more we understand them as individuals and as a team, that’s where we can make them better as players,” he said.

“We also had some meaningful conversations around the legacy this team wants to leave for the next generation of Welsh women’s rugby.”

Abrahams feels having the majority of the squad playing in the English top flight will only help Wales.

“Our players aren’t just making up the numbers,” he said.

“Just look at Kayleigh Powell and Hannah Jones who both earned a player of the match recently and Jaz Joyce who was player of the month for December.”

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Wales were unable to finish their 2020 Six Nations campaign, with the final game against Scotland called off amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But this year a new tournament looms, plus the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand where Wales have been drawn in a pool with the Black Ferns and Australia.

Wales captain Siwan Lillicrap said the recent camp was “the first step in a huge year ahead”.

“The focus was on building a foundation and exploring what we’ve got as a squad,” she added.

“I think we absolutely achieved that. The relationships are developing along with a confidence.

“It’s been a tough, challenging camp but that’s what you want as we build towards the Six Nations and Rugby World Cup.”

Wales coaches, Rachel Taylor, Warren Abrahams, Sophie Spence
Wales coaches Rachel Taylor, Warren Abrahams and Sophie Spence at their first training camp

Abrahams’ first squad will be announced ahead of the Six Nations. There were no places in the recent training group for former captain Carys Phillips or Sioned Harris.

The pair were left out of the 2020 Six Nations despite having accrued over 100 caps.

Harris said in the summer she was “desperate” to get back into the international set-up.

Wales training squad

Forwards: Abbie Fleming, Alisha Butchers, Bryonie King, Gwen Crabb, Georgia Evans, Cerys Hale, Cara Hope, Molly Kelly, Natalia John, Manon Johnes, Kelsey Jones, Beth Lewis, Siwan Lillicrap, Robyn Lock, Shona Powell-Hughes, Donna Rose, Caryl Thomas, Teleri Wyn Davies

Backs: Alecs Donovan, Beth Huntley, Courtney Keight, Jade Knight, Caitlin Lewis, Lisa Neumann, Hannah Jones, Jasmine Joyce, Kayleigh Powell, Paige Randall, Jess Roberts, Gemma Rowland, Lauren Smyth, Elinor Snowsill, Robyn Wilkins, Meg Webb, Flo Williams

BBC News