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Wales Women take on Italians

22nd February 2008

Wales Women head coach Jason Lewis has made brought in new two new faces and made three positional changes to the side that beat Scotland 23-6 for the Six Nations clash with Italy on Sunday, (Taffs Well, 1pm).

Louise Horgan has been replaced in the front row by her sister Claire who starts at tighthead with Jenny Davies moving to loosehead.

Jenny Doyle replaces Nicola Evans in the backrow, with Doyle starting on the blindside and Catrina Nicholas moving to open side flanker.

Behind the scrum, outside half Naomi Thomas and outside centre Rachel Poolman switch positions.

Outstanding forward Jamie Kift has returned from knee surgery in time to gain a place in the 22.

Lewis said, "Obviously, we were very pleased with the win against Scotland as the team knew it was a must win game having lost heavily to England.

"They rose to the challenge and secured a decisive victory which was the biggest ever winning margin against the Scots.

"However, despite the improvement, we didn't quite perform to the best of our ability in the second-half. We could and should have scored a lot more points, but lacked the necessary composure to capitalise on our dominance of the game.

"As a squad we are now back on track for our Six Nations' objectives but that comes with added pressure to maintain the momentum we generated in the win over Scotland.

"We are looking forward to the game against Italy and we hope to build on our previous success. If we produce a composed, controlled performance, and continue to improve, we should have the beating of Italy.

"Another win would give us some much needed confidence for the away trip to Ireland. The Irish are a much improved side this year and there is little doubt that they will provide formidable opposition at home in Dublin."

Wales Women v Italy (Sunday February 24, 1pm, Taffs Well RFC):

Non Evans (Clifton); Louise Rickard (Woodbridge), Naomi Thomas (Clifton), Clare Flowers (Clifton), Hayley Baxter (Cardiff Quins); Rachel Poolman (UWIC), Amy Day (UWIC); Jenny Davies (Waterloo), Rhian Bowden (Clifton), Claire Horgan (Lichfield), Gemma Hallett (Pontyclun), Claire Donovan (Saracens), Jenny Doyle (Bath Ladies), Catrina Nicholas (Bath Ladies), Mel Berry (capt, Clifton)

Replacements: Louise Horgan (Saracens), Ruth Evans (Waterloo), Rachel Taylor (Cardiff Quins), Jamie Kift (Clifton), Nicola Evans (Wasps), Michaela Reed (Birchgrove), Laura Prosser (Pontyclun)