Jenna de Vera to skipper Wales U20s in North America

Rob LloydNews

Former Scarlets U18s captain Jenna de Vera is relishing the opportunity to lead Wales Women’s U20s in the opening match of the two-match tour of North America when they face USA at Elms Rugby Park, Ottawa, Canada on Tuesday. (KO: 6:30pm local time).

The 19-year-old Burry Port centre will skipper a new-look Wales U20s squad with 28 uncapped players on the two-match tour against the best age-group players from North America.

De Vera is joined in the starting line-up by wing Seren Singleton and centre Ellie Tromans, while prop Cadi-Lois Davies, back-rowers Maisie Davies and FInley Jones and back Carys Hughes are named among the replacements. All came through the Scarlets pathway.

Following the game against USA, Wales take on Canada U20s on July 13 at Twin Elms Rugby Park.

De Vera, who was selected for the Wales Women’s Senior squad for the recent TikTok Six Nations, will captain the squad, with Jess Rogers appointed as vice-captain.

De Vera said: “It is a big honour and responsibility to captain my country but having had the experience of playing in the Celtic Challenge games and being with the Senior squad changed my outlook on the standards required and my outlook on rugby.

“It’s just really exciting to be involved in this and all the players feel the same way.  We have learnt so much during the camps we have had and we just want to execute what we have done in training on the pitch now.

“We know we will be playing a very physical and athletic side and it is intimidating but we have some skills and technical plays and hope to have an upper hand there.

“We are all pinching ourselves that we are part of something new and will be part of something lots of girls haven’t had before. It’s exciting for all of us to be taking part in the new status women’s rugby now has.

“We have talked about beating USA on July,  but the most important thing is that we perform, learn from this experience and build from there for the future.”

All of the players selected in Wales U20s squad are uncapped and will win their first Wales U20s caps this July.

The squad sees 16 players graduate for the Wales U18s squad to the Wales U20s and it features seven players who played in this season’s Celtic Challenge games against Irish and Scottish opposition.

Wales U20s v USA U20s: 15 Bethan Adkins; 14 Seren Singleton, 13 Ellie Tromans, 12 Jenna De Vera (capt), 11 Nel Metcalfe; 10 Chelsea Williams, 9 Molly Reardon; 1 Cana Williams, 2 Rosie Carr, 3 Katie Carr, 4 Alaw Pyrs, 5 Erin Jones, 6 Jess Rogers, 7 Lucy Issac 8 Gwennan Hopkins.

Replacements: Molly Wakely, Chloe Thomas-Bradley, Cadi-Lois Davies, Robyn Davies, Masie Davies, Finley Jones, Sian Jones, Molly Anderson Thomas, Molly Powell, Carys Hughes, Kim Thurlow. TRS: Kate Davies, Dali Hopkins

WALES U20s squad for North America Tour

FORWARDS: Alaw Pyrs (Hartpury), Cadi-Lois Davies (Lampeter), Cana Williams (Loughborough Uni), Chloe Thomas Bradley (Dragons Academy), Dali Hopkins (Hartpury), Erin Jones (RGC), Finley Jones (Burry Port), Gwennan Hopkins (Hartpury), Jess Rogers (Cardiff Met, vice-captain), Katie Carr (Cardiff Met), Lucy Isaac  (Dragons Academy), Maisie Davies (Burry Port), Molly Wakely  (Coleg Gwent), Robyn Davies (Hartpury), Rosie Carr  (Cardiff Met)

BACKS: Bethan Adkins (Unattached), Carys Hughes  (Hartpury), Chelsea Williams- (Nelson), Ellie Tromans (Cardiff Uni), Jenna De Vera  (Bristol Uni, captain), Kate Davies (Bangor University), Kim Thurlow (Bath University), Molly Anderson-Thomas (Loughborough Uni), Molly Mae Powell- (Dragons Academy), Molly Reardon (Nelson), Nel Metcalfe (Hartpury), Seren Singleton- (Cardiff Met), Sian Jones  (Sale Sharks)