Women's Six Nations: Teen Lleucu George on last-gasp penalty drama

Women's Six Nations: Wales v Ireland
Venue: Cardiff Arms Park Date: Sunday, 17 March Kick-off: 13:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C, report on BBC Sport website and app.

It's a simple conversion attempt from close to the posts.

But it's also your first kick of the game, the result of a Six Nations game depends on it, and it's into a howling wind.

And by the way, you're a 19-year-old student making your first start in the tournament.

"It was pretty nerve-racking at the end to need the kick to win the game," admits Wales centre Lleucu George after Wales' dramatic 17-15 win over Scotland in Glasgow.

Watching from halfway were the rest of her team mates, including Wales' most experienced current player Caryl Thomas.

"It was literally fingers crossed, but we've got huge confidence in her, though sometimes you just have to switch off," said prop Thomas, 33, of the kick which sparked wild celebrations among the players, staff, and hardy travelling fans on a rain-drenched night in Scotstoun.

"It's really exciting as an old head seeing new people coming in and being really competitive for the shirt with good skill sets.

"It's brilliant that these girls from the under 18s are coming through."

Wales now have a win and a draw from their opening four matches, but are one point behind Ireland who they meet at Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday.

Lleucu George
Lleucu George played her club rugby for Crymych and Whitland

Sporting background

George comes from a farming background in Pembrokeshire, with her father Hefin having played rugby while her mother Jacqueline was a keen hockey player.

"I think (my farming background) has helped with my strength, I got my sporting ability from my parents. As a uni student it's been tough combining my studies with so much training and so many commitments, but I'm doing alright," she told BBC Sport Wales.

"I've also played cricket (representing Wales), my life's been all about sport really."

Remarkably she made her international debut as a flanker aged just 17 in the 2017 World Cup, before switching to centre after a brief experiment at fly-half.

"(Coach) Rowland Phillips saw something in me that maybe I had the skill-set to be a back, I played number 10 and at the moment I'm at twelve, so we'll see what happens. I think I've got attributes from being a forward that help me as a back," she explained.

Better club standard

George is among several teenagers who've represented Wales in the 2019 campaign, including full-back Lauren Smyth, lock Gwen Crabb, and flankers Bethan Lewis, Alex Callander and Manon Johnes.

But Thomas, who passed the half-century mark of caps during the tournament, believes improvements are needed in the Welsh club structure to allow young players to develop, with the regional games concentrated in a block at the start of the season.

She hopes that Wales will eventually copy the example of England and pay players a professional wage, at least before the young generation have hung up their boots.

"I'd like to think so, giving players the time to recover and look after themselves as full-time professionals is the way forward if we want to grow this game.

"But we have to get our club structure and our regional structure in place for these girls to improve, in England the structures are in a better place I'm afraid to say. That has to be our priority, to improve that standard so we can compete at international level."

But for now, the Welsh squad will be returning to their day jobs or studies once the Six Nations is over.

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC