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University student Sisilia named in Wales rugby squad for Women’s Six Nations

University of Gloucestershire student Sisilia Tuipulotu looks set to make her Women’s Six Nations debut for Wales against Ireland on Saturday.

The 18-year-old, who is studying for a BSc (Hons) Psychology degree at the University, has been named as a replacement in Head Coach Ioan Cunningham’s matchday squad for their opening fixture of the championship at RDS Stadium (kick-off 4.45pm) in Dublin.

International rugby runs in Sisilia’s family – her father Sione played for Tonga and cousin Taulupe Faletau plays at number eight for the Wales men’s rugby team – but she started playing only two years ago.

The powerful second-row forward has made remarkable progress since then, however, and only last month she found out during a lecture at the University that she had been offered a retainer contract by the Welsh Rugby Union.

Naming her in the matchday squad, Head Coach Cunningham said: “Sisilia has settled in well to the training environment after taking up a retainer contract and she fully deserves to make the next step to international rugby.

“The more exposure we can give her at this level, the more comfortable she will be.”

Matt Tansley, Director of Sport and Physical Wellbeing, said: “Everyone at the University is absolutely delighted for Sisilia. It’s all down to her dedication and hard work.

“As with all our sports scholars, it is a pleasure to be able to support her on her academic and sporting journey. It’s also a great reminder that students like Sisilia are so much more than athletes; she is studying for her future away from the pitch and doing a fantastic job of balancing everything with the University’s support.”

The University’s sports scholarships programme help talented athletes, officials and aspiring coaches achieve their goals across a wide range of sports, and scholars are able to combine this bespoke support with any degree programme.