June International Tours

Welsh cap record set to be broken

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When the Welsh Women take on their Italian counterparts in the Six Nations on Sunday there will be a rather significant moment not just for one player but for Welsh rugby as a whole.

Louise Rickard will become the most capped Welsh player, male or female, of all time when she wins her 93rd cap, surpassing the previous record of 92 held by second row Gareth Llewellyn.

Rickard, a 36-year-old teacher, will be in good company in the nineties as Gareth Thomas will look to win his 91st cap from the bench on Saturday at the Stadio Flaminio.

Despite being on the verge of creating history Rickard was blissfully unaware of the fact until just a few weeks ago.

“I didn’t know until a few weeks ago I was possibly going to overtake Gareth Llewellyn’s mark as the most capped Welsh rugby international,” confessed Rickard.

“It’s not the sort of thing you think about, although it will be a huge honour for me on Sunday.”

Despite being one of the older players in the Welsh squad Rickard has no plans to hang her boots up just yet, and has her sights set on winning her 100th cap in the next two seasons.

“I still think I’ve got a couple more seasons left in me and it would be great now to go on and reach 100 caps,” she added.

Having made her debut back in 1993, Rickard has seen Women’s rugby change for the better, and she believes the current system is beginning to work, as shown by the number of younger players breaking into the side.

“This is a great time to be involved in the Welsh Women’s team because the set-up is so progressive and professional and the system is creating some great talent,” enthused Rickard.

“We had our best ever season in the Six Nations last year, when we were runners-up to England, and we also won the European Sevens title. Although we lost to France in our last game, we are still on course for a Triple Crown showdown with England next week.

The England game is perhaps the biggest of the lot for Rickard, as she and Wales go in search of a first senior win over their Saxon rivals, which if achieved, will have been twenty years in the making. Although with a testing trip to Rome between now and the England showdown she is well aware of where the focus needs to be right now.

“It will be the 20th anniversary of the first meeting between Wales and England and we have yet to beat them at senior level. That is the big game for us and we are prepared to come crawling off the pitch if that is what it takes to win,” admitted Rickard.

“But before then we have to concentrate on the Italians. We beat them fairly comfortably in the pre-season, but they are improving with every game and are bound to give us a hard fight on home soil.

“I’m sure we will put things back on the road against them after the disappointment of the French defeat and that is what really matters this weekend.”

Gareth Llewellyn, still playing with Bristol, is well aware of the dedication and physical commitment it takes to reach such a milestone and was one of the first to offer his congratulations to Rickard.

“It is a fantastic achievement to keep playing at the highest level for so long,” said Llewellyn, speaking from experience.

“When you think the Wales Women’s team don’t play that many internationals every year, it shows she has been consistently one of their best performers for more than a decade.

“It takes great dedication to training and you need to be well focused to survive at international level for such a long period of time. Many congratulations to her.”

Welsh Rugby Record Cap Holders

Charles Newman (Newport) 10 caps 1881-1887
Tom Clapp (Newport) 14 caps 1882-1888
Arthur Gould (Newport) 27 caps 1885-1897
Billy Bancroft (Swansea) 33 caps 1890-1901
Dicky Owen (Swansea) 35 caps 1901-1912
Ken Jones (Newport) 44 caps 1947-1957
Gareth Edwards (Card

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