Catherine Richards during a Wales training session

Catherine Richards: Gwalia Lightning wing hopes for Wales honours

Catherine Richards during a Wales training sessionCatherine Richards is contracted to both Gloucester-Hartpury and Cheltenham Tigers

Catherine Richards has been knocking on the door for international honours, so hard in fact that she has twice broken her hand.

Raised in Abu Dhabi, the 23 year-old winger attended Monmouth School with her brother David, himself an exciting back on the Dragons’ books.

Having caught the eye of Wales head coach Ioan Cunningham, Richards was called up to train with his 2023 Six Nations squad, but a hand fracture prevented her from featuring in the championship.

She also had an outing with Great Britain rugby sevens last summer, only for injury to cruelly strike again.

Richards was overlooked for the WXV1 tournament, but is currently a standout player in this year’s Celtic Challenge.

She plays for Gwalia Lightning, one of two Welsh teams in the cross-border competition, and has scored three tries in two games – all under the eye of Cunningham and his backroom staff.

“I would love to be called back into the Six Nations,” Richards told BBC Radio Wales.

“It was such an amazing experience last year and it’s definitely something that I’d want to do again.”

Richards says pulling on the red jersey is something she has “always dreamed of” since picking up a rugby ball aged six in the United Arab Emirates.

“I’ve always considered myself Welsh and it’s just lovely to be back playing in Wales,” Richards said.

She said the Celtic Challenge, which features two teams each from Wales, Scotland and Ireland, is an “amazing opportunity for young players coming through”.

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Having played in its inaugural year in 2023, she said this year is “another step up”.

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Richards crossed twice in the round one Welsh derby against Brython Thunder at Rodney Parade, a team littered with Wales internationals such as Alex Callender, Natalia John and Sioned Harries.

She also crossed in Gwalia’s convincing six-try victory over Glasgow Warriors at Cardiff Arms Park, to make it two wins from two for Catrina Nicholas-McLaughlin’s side.

“We need to carry on building and not let the pressure get to us, and continue playing that exciting expansive style of rugby,” Richards added.

“For me as a winger it’s great because I actually get ball in hand rather than it be a forwards game.

“We just need to keep building as a team and keep trusting what Cat is coaching us.”

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