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Hopkins proud of Cardiff under-18 effort and progress over successful campaign

Cymraeg | 24th February 2022

Gwennan Hopkins has hailed the remarkable progress of her Cardiff side over the course of the WRU’s Women’s Regional under-18 tournament.

The back row youngster captained the Blue and Blacks to success at Ystrad Mynach and Merthyr. After two wins, a draw and a loss on the opening weekend, Darren Bool’s side went on to win four from four at The Wern, not conceding a single point in the process.

And while the final leg at Cardiff Arms Park was called off due to the adverse weather conditions, Hopkins was proud of her side’s efforts both on the field and on the training ground and they showed unity as a team.

“We were obviously gutted not to have that finale at Cardiff Arms Park, because we were excited to continue our efforts at the club’s home and hopefully retain our spot on top of the table,” she said.

“But overall we can be really proud of what we achieved over the course of the campaign and how we’ve represented the Cardiff badge.

“In such a short amount of time, the way we gelled together and bonded as a group was brilliant, and I think you really saw that in our performances.

“It gives us a really exciting platform to build on and we’re already looking forward to coming back together and wear the blue and black jersey once again.

“These experiences gives you friends for life and we’re really positive about what we can achieve moving forward.

“You look back a few weeks ago, and we didn’t even have a team. But we continually improved on the training ground, with the help of our coaching team and Gruff Rees from the academy, and I felt we were impressive on both sides of the ball.”

Attention now turns to international selection, with Wales under-18 set to make a return in coming weeks.

The former Ysgol Plasmawr pupil, who now studies at Hartpury College on a rugby scholarship, began her rugby careeer with Llandaff RFC, before joining Cardiff Harlequins’ thriving girls division.

Hopkins says she was proud to captain the squad over the course of the campaign and hopes the team performances on show was enough to impress selectors.

“I really enjoyed the experience of being captain, but the girls really made it as easy as possible for me,” said the former Cardiff Schools representative. 

“It was an honour and a privilege to lead such a fantastic group. They’ve been special and everyone inspired each other.

“International selection has been in the back of our minds, and hopefully we’ve given each other the best chance of making the squad by performing in unity as a team.

“Even though we’re technically individuals battling for the Wales jersey, we knew that was going to be the best way of showing what we can do and how we can come together in a short amount of time.

“We consistently showed that we were at our best as one and wanted to show that to the coaches.

“I’ve watched girls such as Megan Webb and Manon Johnes playing for the Quins over the years and then gone on to represent the national side.

“So of course they’re a huge inspirations for all of us involved with the club.

“We can look up to them and they give you something to aspire to.”