Women's Six Nations: Wales coach trying to bring men's team discipline to side

Rowland Phillips
Rowland Phillips was appointed Wales Women head coach in July of 2016

Wales Women coach Rowland Phillips says he is trying to bring the same discipline as the men's team to his side even though they are made up of part-time players.

Wales got their Women's Six Nations campaign off to a winning start with a 20-8 victory against Italy in Jesi.

"The girls want to be treated the same, with the same structures and preparation as the men," said Phillips.

Phillips' side host England at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday, 11 February.

The Wales women's coach has previous experience of the Six Nations as a player and an assistant coach with the men's team.

"I was excited to have the opportunity [to take the job in 2016], but I feel even more excited to be part of this and these girls are making my job enjoyable," Phillips told BBC Wales Sport.

"England are the world champions, so I don't think I'll need to put [the players'] feet on the ground. The challenge is huge and the girls will need to be at their best.

"England have always got that quality, the fact they're full-time allows them to spend more time together, but we're fighters, we punch above our weight and if we can get smart as well, we become a strong force."

Phillips' daughter Carys, the Wales captain, is relishing the prospect of playing at the Arms Park, in a bid to repeat the 13-0 win in Swansea in 2015.

"It's home again in Cardiff, a brilliant place to play so hopefully we get a really good crowd behind us and put in a good performance," Phillips continued.

"England have their Sevens players back in [after the Rio Olympics], they're professional and they're going to be a strong and physical team but we're up for the challenge."

Most of the Welsh players will have to fit evening training sessions around their day jobs, although prop Caryl Thomas, who notched her first international try in Italy from "possibly two centimetres", says they will try to generate spirit from that.

She said: "It's an exciting development for women's rugby, [England] having the time to train and everything, but it brings us together as a team when we're all buying into the same thing.

"We turn up for training, you're tired, you pick somebody up and you get more camaraderie from it, a bit of a family feel."

After BBC Radio Wales commentary duties when she was out injured, Thomas is still in no doubt of her priorities.

"I'd rather be out on the pitch," she joked.

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