Hannah Jones Hopes The Biggest Crowd In Women’s Rugby History Will Lead To Victory

Harry Corish - Sportin Journalist

Wales captain Hannah Jones hopes the biggest crowd in the history of women’s rugby in Wales will be enough to inspire her team to victory over England on Saturday.

The Grand Slam champions come to Cardiff Arms Park, where the game is a sell-out with just over 8,000 tickets sold.

That should ensure the volume is up to the max as Jones’ team bid to earn themselves a Triple Crown after victories over Ireland and Scotland in the opening two rounds of the TikTok Women’s Six Nations.

The 26-year-old skipper says: “Even with the crowd against Ireland it was pretty loud and encouraging, so to have double the amount now is crazy.

“Hopefully we enjoy that and we thrive off that vibe around the stadium.

“I’ve been in the squad for about eight years now and every year just gets bigger and bigger.

“You get noticed a little more when you’re just going shopping and stuff like that. Obviously, we’ve been shown on the TV a bit more, media has definitely improved, so girls can definitely look up to us and want to be rugby players for their careers now, which is brilliant.”

Wales beat Ireland 31-5, then ground out a 34-22 victory up in Scotland, but England – looking for their fifth successive title – are a different proposition.

The Red Roses crushed Scotland 58-7 and crumbled the Italians, 68-5. But their players have spent the week talking about their respect for the current Welsh revival.

Their coach Simon Middleton says: “Playing Wales in Wales is always a really passionate affair.

“The confidence they will have on their home turf will be amplified by the crowd. As a team they’ll feel very together, very connected and strong.

“I think, whereas before we’ve been able to overpower them, that won’t be there to the extent  it has been previously.”

While Wales Women undoubtedly take centre stage this weekend, the men’s regional teams still have much to resolve in the United Rugby Championship.

The Scarlets aim to keep their recent revival going on Friday night when they travel to high-flying Glasgow.

For the Dragons, it’s a case of trying to get over their recent 73-33 hammering against Glasgow in the European Challenge Cup.

Dragons head coach Dai Flanagan has revealed the players had an “honesty session” after such a demoralising defeat.

“You have to look each other in the face and be honest with each other,” said Flanagan.

“We let ourselves down in the fundamentals of the game – contact, set piece, kick chase – and have to go back to basics.”

On Saturday, the Ospreys and Cardiff both play in the evening and both have tough away matches as they battle each other to finish top of the pile among the Welsh regions to earn the Welsh Shield and European Champions Cup qualification.

The Ospreys look to have the better chance, away at struggling Edinburgh, while Cardiff must visit Connacht who are up in sixth place.

Cardiff have a four point lead over the Ospreys but that could all change this weekend before the two rivals meet in Judgement Day in the capital the following Saturday.