Women’s regional opener impresses Phillips

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The absence of senior Wales players gave others the chance to shine on the regional stage

Wales Women coach Rowland Phillips says he was impressed by the abundance of talent on show at the opening day of the women’s regional season.

Teams from Ospreys, Cardiff Blues, Scarlets, RGC and Dragons competed in the Super 12s at Llandovery RFC.

Phillips said reducing teams from 15 to 12 allowed for a “higher intensity”.

“I’ve been really impressed how they’ve adapted to this format, there’s been some really good stuff on show,” he told BBC Sport Wales.

“We looked at how we could give girls more space to be able to play heads up rugby and attack.”

The Super 12s saw the regions play each other in 20 minute games at Church Bank, giving coaches the opportunity to see players ahead of three full rounds of 15-a-side rugby, after which Phillips will select his autumn squad.

Last year the new regional programme produced young talent such as Lauren Smyth and Manon Johnes who went on to win senior international caps.

And Phillips is confident more will follow in their footsteps.

“There’s plenty of new talent, people that we’re already aware of, people who’ve come through the emerging talent programme, girls who have moved through the under-18s.

“This is how the game is, the young talented players are coming through very quickly and they deserve the opportunity, but also put pressure on the senior players to be at their best.”