19-year-old student picked for Wales Six Nations squad
Press release issued: 23 March 2023
University of Bristol student Jenna De Vera has been picked for the Welsh Six Nations squad.
The 19-year-old Centre has been training with the 36-strong squad as they head into their first match against Ireland in Cardiff this weekend.
Jenna, a Film and Television with Innovation student, last year captained the under 18s Scarlets team and has impressed during her first season playing for the University of Bristol.
Jenna said: "Getting the call up was an incredible feeling, but also quite intimidating. The level is much more professional and much more intense, with way higher demands on you. I was excited to put myself in that position though.
"The level of skill and talent in this team is massive, it's amazing to be surrounded be so many talented women.
"Training in the women's senior team is a real step up. The coaches are really honest with you which has helped my game a lot."
Jenna is currently training eight hours a day, most days of the week. Over the coming two months she will play with, and against, some of her rugby heroes.
"Four years ago I took a photo with the former captain Carys Phillips: this week I was sitting next to her on the team bus after a training match against South Africa!" Jenna laughed.
Jenna represented Wales at the under 18 level. But it was in this year's Celtic Challenge – a tournament between Scotland, Ireland and Wales – where she really caught the eye of head coach Ioan Cunningham.
Steve Gazzard, Women's Rugby Head Coach at the University of Bristol, said: "Jenna has made a huge contribution to our team culture and work ethic and has excelled for the first team in a number of positions, so it was no surprise to me to see her continue her progress with Wales in the Celtic Challenge.
"We look forward to seeing her make her full Wales debut."
Jenna is not expected to play in this weekend's opening match.
Jenna has been playing with the University of Bristol Women's Rugby Club since she joined the institution in September 2022.
She said: "The club has helped me develop as a player in terms of finding confidence in my knowledge of the game and using my skills within the team in a variety of positions.
"And the girls have been really supportive – some even came to on the Celtic Challenge – although there is still a lot of Wales/England banter flying around!"