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

Jenny Hesketh and Courtney Keight in Wales camp
Jenny Hesketh plays full-back for Bristol Bears in the English Premiership

Guinness Six Nations: Wales v Italy

Venue: Cardiff Arms Park Date: Saturday, 23 March Kick-off: 16:45 GMT

Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two Wales, BBC iPlayer and online from 16:30 GMT; listen on BBC Radio Wales & Radio Cymru; text commentary, highlights and report on 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 shape ball to chase having played both international rugby and football.

The second was which country to represent, England (her place of birth) or her mum's native Wales.

As Hesketh now prepares for a potential Wales debut in this year's Women's Six Nations, it is clear the egg and the three feathers won the day!

The 21-year-old Bath University student said it was a difficult decision not to continue in England's pathway, which she had been involved in since picking up a rugby ball aged six.

The decision is even more eyebrow-raising when you consider the success of the Red Roses, who are going for a third successive Grand Slam this year.

But Hesketh says it was all a case of timing and the opportunities presented by Wales.

Having impressed at full-back for Bristol Bears this season, Wales head coach Ioan Cunningham began talks just before Christmas and invited her to attend February's Six Nations training camp.

"It all happened quite quickly, but it was very exciting to be in talks with an international coach. I kind of came out of the blue in a way," said Hesketh, who has since been named in Wales' 37-player squad.

"The opportunities that I've been presented with right now, to work towards a professional contract and how the game is changing in Wales, it's a really exciting thing to be a part of.

"It's the timing as well, for me to be possibly 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 is closing on the likes of England and France as more nations turn professional.

"In women's rugby right now every team is so competitive," she said.

"This Six Nations coming up is going to be the most competitive it has ever been, that's something that's really exciting to be a part of."

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

"My mum is Welsh and all my family are Welsh and so it's really cool to have the opportunity to represent my whole family in a different way than I have before," she said.

"It would be amazing, it will probably hit me after the game, right now I'm focussing on the rugby and doing what I can do well, and then after when I see my mum and my family, it's going to be incredible.

"Singing the anthem will be a really cool moment."

Wales are due to name their side to face Scotland on Thursday, 21 March.