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Women’s Six Nations 2024: Wales seek composure in Ireland after England loss

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Venue: Musgrave Park, Cork Date: Saturday, 13 April Kick-off: 16:45 BST
Coverage: Watch live on BBC iPlayer and online from 16:30 BST; listen on BBC Radio Wales & Radio Cymru; text commentary, highlights and report on BBC Sport website and app.

Head coach Ioan Cunningham believes composure is key for Wales as they look ahead to their Women’s Six Nations trip to Ireland.

Wales will aim to halt a run of five straight defeats when they face the Irish in Cork on 13 April.

Cunningham says Wales can take heart from their 46-10 loss against England on Saturday.

“Players are going deep to the well and giving everything for the shirt,” he said.

“We are so proud of that effort.

“We have just got to balance that up with being clinical and having that composure at the right time. Once that clicks, we will be a tough team to stop.”

After successive autumn defeats by Canada, New Zealand and Australia, Wales were beaten narrowly in their opening Six Nations game by Scotland at Cardiff Arms Park in their opener.

Defeat by England, who were hailed as the best side in the world by Cunningham before the game, was more predictable.

‘We left four or five tries out there’

The English, victors in the last five Six Nations Championships, have not lost to Wales since 2015.

That record never looked under threat in front of 19,705 fans at Ashton Gate, though Wales did compete in spells, particularly in the first half.

“I am very encouraged,” Cunningham added.

“I thought we left four or five tries out on the field, especially first half [when] we had four entries into the 22 and came away with no points.

“It’s being a bit more clinical now, that’s what we need to do moving forward.

“It’s composure and calmness when we are in those areas, it’s confidence and belief as well.

“The occasion was fantastic, the atmosphere was brilliant, and it’s having that clarity when you are under that sort of pressure.

“It’s something we have to learn as quickly as we can.”

Wales were not helped by the absence of Jasmine Joyce, who was a late withdrawal with a hamstring strain.

Cunningham will hope the wing can return in time for Ireland, who have begun the Six Nations with defeats by France and Italy as their long wait for a win in the tournament goes on.

Wales players come together after defeat to England
Wales are aiming to finish in the top three of this year’s Six Nations to secure World Cup qualification

Wales were encouraged by the influence of their substitutes against England, with Alex Callender hailing the increased depth in Cunningham’s squad in what is the third Six Nations campaign since the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) introduced professional contracts for female 15-a-side players in 2022.

“We haven’t been in a position like that before, where our bench can make an impact, so that’s a real positive for us going into Ireland,” vice-captain Callender said.

“When we put England under pressure, we looked good, we looked dangerous.

“But we need to have that not just for 30, 40 minutes, we need to be in the game for 60, 70, 80 minutes.”

Ireland ‘a massive challenge’

Wales were comprehensive victors when they hosted Ireland in their first game of last year’s Six Nations.

Cunningham’s team went on to beat Scotland and Italy in that tournament as they finished third, the nation’s best Six Nations performance in 14 years.

With France to come on 21 April before a meeting with Italy six days later, Wales will be desperate to get this year’s campaign off the ground with a victory next time out – though Cunningham insists the Irish will represent a “massive challenge”.

“Next week is a great opportunity to rest up and do some good review work into the England game,” he added.

“There were positives we can take into Ireland.”



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Deontay Wilder: Ex-WBC world champion confident of Anthony Joshua fight

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Former WBC world champion Deontay Wilder tells BBC Sport he is “90%” sure a fight with Anthony Joshua will happen in the future, as he prepares to face Zhilei Zhang on 1 June.

READ MORE: Wilder says Joshua fight will be revived with big win over Zhang



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Taulupe Faletau: Wales number eight set for Cardiff return

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Taulupe Faletau back in training with Cardiff
Taulupe Faletau has played 14 games for Cardiff after joining from Bath in 2022

Cardiff and Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau is set to return to action after a six-month injury lay-off.

Faletau, 33, suffered a broken arm in Wales’ World Cup victory against Georgia in Nantes in October 2023 before missing this year’s Six Nations with a calf injury.

The British and Irish Lions Test star has since returned to Cardiff training.

Faletau is available for the United Rugby Championship (URC) trip to face Ulster on Friday night.

Faletau, who has played 104 times for Wales, returns to action with the summer tour to Australia on the horizon.

Head coach Warren Gatland has lost senior figures in Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, George North, Dan Biggar, Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb to international retirement in the last 12 months.

In Faletau’s absence, Cardiff back-row duo Alex Mann and Mackenzie Martin have been capped by Wales, while Aaron Wainwright has filled the national number eight role.



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Ross Molony: Leinster locks signs for Bath Rugby on three-year contract from 2024-25

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Ross Molony
Ross Molony has won four league titles and the European Champions Cup with Leinster

Bath have announced the signing of Leinster lock Ross Molony on a three-year contract.

The 29-year-old will join up with the Somerset club ahead of the 2024-25 season.

Molony has made 177 appearances for Leinster and has won four league titles and the European Champions Cup with the Dublin club.

Leinster are currently five points clear at the top of the United Rugby Championship table.

They face Premiership leaders Northampton Saints on Saturday, May 4, for a place in a third Champions Cup final in a row.

“Ross is a true professional and his journey in rugby is a testament to this,” director of rugby Johann van Graan told the club’s website.external-link

“His work ethic and leadership are some of his key characteristics and I believe he will play a huge part in our journey in the next number of years.”

Bath are currently second in the Premiership, five points behind Northampton.



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