Rowland Phillips believes there were plenty of positives on show for his side, following Wales Women’s 52-10 defeat to Japan at Ystrad Mynach yesterday.Phillips fielded a youthful and inexperienced side for the World Cup warm-up, as Wales continued preparations ahead of August’s tournament, which will be held in Ireland.
The Wales Women head coach insists the match was an invaluable opportunity to develop some of Wales’ most promising youngsters, as they also look beyond this year’s World Cup, and towards the next four years.
“The score didn’t have any bearing on what we wanted to get out of the day. The result would’ve been a bonus, but I’m happy with what we’ve done,” said Phillips.
“You look at Lleucu George, that’s her first game, she’s only 17 and she was outstanding. That’s a massive tick in the box for us building for the future.
“We knew with where we are with our preparations, and where they are with theirs, that this was going to be a tough day for us on a results front.
“We had the introduction of about 10 players that have not previously started and three or four under 18’s. We want to build and see where we are. Not just for this World Cup, but also for the next one to get some continuity in how we can build a squad.
“As far as that’s aware, it was always going to be win-win, whatever the result.
“Everybody can look at the result and pick what they want from it, but I know what our planning was. You certainly don’t plan to lose a game of rugby but we know where we are with this group at this point.
“I had more or less a full team not out on that pitch today.
“I’m very happy with the players I’ve got, but it’s time to find out what the rest of Wales can offer. What we saw was a great opportunity, playing against a full strength Japanese team, for our next group of players.”
Wales have been drawn alongside New Zealand, Canada and Hong Kong in Pool A of the Women’s Rugby World Cup.
Phillips believes there are aspects of the game that his side can work on, but is pleased with the progress and preparations that the team have made ahead of August’s campaign.
“We’ve got work to do, and we’ve got Spain next month and then England as warm-up matches. As we progress that will give us a nice build-up and another reminder where we are as a group.
“I set the targets of what we wanted to take out of this game and we certainly ticked the boxes with a few of those.
“We’ve got very good rugby players here but maybe need to get better at the less glamorous parts of the game, which is the contact area.
“We’ll have a look back at it. There were some structural issues in defence but I’m not really worried about the result.
“We’ll fix things. If we had a situation today where there were things we couldn’t fix, then we’d have a problem. But it’s fine. I want the girls to learn their lessons here and not in the World Cup.”