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Hopkins called in for Wales Sevens debut

International | 1st July 2022

Cardiff Rugby under-18 captain, Gwennan Hopkins, has received her first call-up to the senior Wales Sevens squad, capping off an impressive individual season.

The former Ysgol Plasmawr pupil, who now studies at Hartpury College, was crowned Cardiff Rugby Women Under-18s Player of the Year after leading her side to top of the table against their fellow Welsh sides.

She also skippered Wales under-18 to success in the Six Nations Festival in Edinburgh earlier this year and is the only change made by coach Nick Wakley ahead of the Rugby Europe 7s trip to Krakow this weekend.

Back row Hopkins is joined in the squad by former Cardiff forward and full international Abbie Flemming, as well as Lowri Norkett, Lauren Smyth, Seven Singleton and Ellie Morgan, who all ply their trade with clubs within the club's region.

Head coach Wakley said: “Last weekend was a brilliant experience for us all. A few of the players had never played senior rugby so to play World Series sides like France and Poland was a real eye-opener but although no one is happy with the results, we produced some encouraging periods of play – especially against those stronger sides. Credit to Ellie (Morgan) and Hannah (Powell) for their strong and positive leadership throughout.”

Wales have another tough pool this weekend, starting with Scotland (12.22 BST) and France (4.02pm) today and Spain and Belgium tomorrow (Sat).

Wakley added, “It will be another big challenge this weekend, especially with a three-day tournament, but we have reviewed last weekend’s performances and the girls are progressing with every training session. We are on a journey and this is all fantastic game time ahead of the RWC qualification tournament next month. We have some real talent in the squad and there is no doubt that the experience of competing in two senior, Rugby Europe tournaments over consecutive weekends will stand these players in good stead for the future, both in 7s and 15-a-side rugby.”

Wales Sevens squad Krakow 7s: Meg Davies (Bristol Bears), Sian Davies (Lampeter), Abbie Fleming (Exeter Chiefs), Emma Hennessy (Cheltenham Tigers), Gwennan Hopkins (Cardiff Quins), Nel Metcalfe (Nant Conwy), Ellie Morgan (Cardiff University), Lowri Norkett (Pontyclun Falcons), Anwen Owen (Nelson), Hannah Powell (Deri Diamonds), Seren Singleton (Cardiff Met), Lauren Smyth (Cardiff Met)