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Bluck returns as England visit Cardiff Arms Park for crunch clash

19th February 2019

Cardiff Blues' Hannah Bluck returns to the Wales Women line-up as Rowland Phillips' side look to bring England's Grand Slam charge to a halt at Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday (KO 12.30pm)

Bluck, who is named at inside centre, is one of five changes made following the draw with Italy in round two.

Her regional team-mate, Robyn Wilkins, retains her spot at outside half having scored all of Wales' points in this year's Championship to date.

Having won her 50th cap as a replacement in Lecce, Bristol Bears' Elinor Snowsill returns to the XV to slot in at full-back, and is joined in  by prolific wing, Jess Kavanagh.

Two further changes are made in the forwards, as Mel Clay and Alex Callender are introduced, replacing Natalia John and Cardiff Blues' teenage back row, Manon Johnes.

 Rowland Phillips is looking forward to returning to the iconic Cardiff Arms Park, but expects a tough challenge against an England side who claimed the maximum 10 points in the opening rounds of fixtures.

Phillips said: "Cardiff Arms Park is a great home for us, we are looking forward to benefitting from some vocal support from across the rugby community after two away fixtures. The players really appreciate the support, not only for them as players but for all those they represent.

"We are determined to continue to develop as a team and compete against the best sides in the world. We know we still have a lot of work to do but there is a lot of momentum in our young group and in the talent coming through in Wales at the moment.

"Hannah Bluck's physicality will give us some extra options in the centre. Manon Johnes and Lauren Smyth have been excellent since making their international debuts in the autumn but they are 18 and 17 and it's a case of managing their progress. Alex Callender is also 18 so it's fantastic to be blooding so much exciting young talent at the moment.

"England are such a powerful team and that gives them attacking opportunities. It will be up to us to meet that physical challenge but it's tests like these that can make players and teams.

"We showed the strength of our team spirit and commitment in the final ten minutes against Italy and we will need to bring the same approach and work ethic to Sunday's match."

WALES WOMEN v ENGLAND Sunday 24 Feb 12.30 Cardiff Arms Park: Elinor Snowsill (Bristol Bears); Jasmine Joyce (Scarlets), Hannah Jones (Scarlets), Hannah Bluck (Cardiff Blues), Jess Kavanagh (RGC); Robyn Wilkins (Blues), Keira Bevan (Ospreys); Caryl Thomas (Dragons), Carys Phillips (capt, Ospreys), Amy Evans (Ospreys), Gwen Crabb (Ospreys), Mel Clay (Ospreys), Bethan Lewis (Dragons), Alex Callender (Scarlets), Siwan Lillicrap (Ospreys)
Replacements: Kelsey Jones (Ospreys), Cara Hope (Ospreys), Cerys Hale (Dragons), Natalia John (Ospreys), Alisha Butchers (Scarlets), Ffion Lewis (Scarlets), Lisa Neumann (RGC); Lauren Smyth (Ospreys)

Tickets for Wales Women v England are available to print at home from Cardiff Blues Box Office