Wales have areas to work on

Rachel Taylor in action against Ireland

Rachel Taylor was re-appointed Wales captain before the 2016 Women’s Six Nations

Wales captain Rachel Taylor was left bemoaning her side’s inability to keep possession after losing to Ireland in their opening game of the Women’s Six Nations.

Holders Ireland secured a comfortable 21-3 win at Donnybrook.

“It felt like a long time defending, we weren’t able to keep a lot of ball and go through the phases,” Taylor said.

“After a couple of phases we’d get turned over and that’ll probably be our biggest area to work on this week.”

Centre Sene Naoupu and lock Sophie Spence crossed for Ireland in the second quarter.

Two more penalties from home captain Niamh Briggs, who scored 11 points, were the only second-half scores.

Wales defended bravely for long periods, but could not add to Robyn Wilkins’ opening penalty.

Defeat at Donnybrook came after Wales had beaten Ireland 15-5 in a friendly at Ystrad Mynach in January.

Taylor finished the tournament opener with a shoulder injury after sustaining a heavy blow in injury time as Wales defended on their own line.

“I was really pleased with our line-out defence and our defence close to the ruck, but it wasn’t consistent enough,” Taylor added.

“We’ve got to start backing ourselves to go forward and string phases together.”

Wales gave debuts to wing Bethan Dainton and replacement forwards Cerys Hale, Siwan Lillicrap and Alisha Butchers.

Coach Rhys Edwards now has just two training sessions with the team before they take on last year’s wooden spoon side Scotland at Neath on Sunday, 14 February.

“It’s just [a question of] belief in our own ability. Two weeks ago we controlled the tempo and beat Ireland convincingly, but we need belief and accuracy in our skills.

“Four new caps, they probably were our better players coming on in terms of intent and attitude, and it’s important we get that across the board.”

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