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Women's Six Nations: Former England captain Jenny Hesketh explains why she chose Wales

Women's Six Nations: Former England captain Jenny Hesketh explains why she chose Wales

Image source, Huw Evans Photo Agency

Comment on the photo, Jenny Hesketh plays full-back for Bristol Bears in the English Premier League

Guinness Six Nations: Wales v Scotland

place: Cardiff Arms Park date: Saturday 23 March Starting: 16:45 GMT

coverage: Watch live on BBC Two Wales, BBC iPlayer and online from 16:30 GMT; Listen to BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru; Text comments, highlights and reports on the BBC Sport website and app.

Life has been full of big decisions for former England Under-20s captain Jenny Hesketh.

The first was choosing which ball shape you wanted to chase, having played rugby and football at international level.

The second is which country she will represent: England, her place of birth, or her mother's native country of Wales.

As Hesketh now prepares for Wales' debut in this year's Women's Six Nations, the egg and three feathers have clearly won the day.

The 21-year-old University of Bath student said it was difficult to make the decision not to continue with the England track, which she has been involved in since she picked up a rugby ball aged six.

The decision seems even more surprising when you consider the success of the Red Roses, who are seeking their third straight Grand Slam title this year.

But Hesketh says it was all about timing and the opportunities Wales offers.

“It all happened so quickly, but it was very exciting to have conversations with an international coach,” said Hesketh, who has since been named in Wales' 37-man squad. “It came out of the blue in a way.”

“The opportunities I've had now, to work towards signing a professional contract and how the game is changing in Wales, it's really exciting to be a part of.

“It's the timing as well, for me, maybe turning into a professionally contracted player in June when I graduate, it changes the shape of my next few years.”

Hesketh also believes the gap to teams such as England and France is closing as more countries turn professional.

“In women’s rugby at the moment, every team is very competitive,” she said.

“The upcoming Six Nations will be the most competitive ever and this is a really exciting thing to be a part of.”

Wales begin their campaign against Scotland at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday, March 23, and it is the prospect of pulling on the red shirt that fills Hesketh with excitement.

“My mum is Welsh and all my family are Welsh, so it's really nice to have the opportunity to represent my whole family in a different way to how I've done before,” she said.

“It's going to be amazing, it'll probably shock me after the game. Now I'm focusing on my rugby and doing what I can do well, and then when I see my mum and my family, it's going to be unbelievable.”

Wales is scheduled to announce its lineup to face Scotland on Thursday, March 21.

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