The partner of Wales Women centre Kerin Lake has spoken out publicly to give an insight into the reality of playing international rugby while balancing a career and motherhood.
Gloucester-Hartpury centre Lake, capped 30 times for Wales, is one of many in Warren Abrahams' squad who combine rugby with work as Wales Women's status is amateur.
Lake, a 30-year-old back who is mum to son Jacob, has started both games in this year's Women's Six Nations - in the 53-0 defeat to semi-professional outfit France and 45-0 loss to Ireland at the weekend. The Irish are also an amateur side but are credited with a more advanced pathway system to develop women's players.
Whereas fully professional England - the only pro side in the Six Nations - will be expected to use their non-training days for rest, recovery, conditioning, analysis, etc. Wales' squad members, for the most part, go to work and forgo rest days.
Lake's partner Steff Jones revealed how a normal day - regularly 14 hours - for his partner included the school run at 8.30am before work - providing admin support for the mental health team at Tonna Hospital - not returning home to Neath from rugby training until 10pm.
He wrote on Facebook: "Just a little insight on Wales Women and the haters who bad-mouth how embarrassing they are... a normal day for Kerin being an international for over a decade..
"School run at 8.30am, work at 9 until 3pm, drive to Cardiff for training at 4.45pm, intense training and gym until 9pm, drive home from Cardiff, get home around 10pm and has to wash and dry training kit to do it all again for the following day!
"14 hour day. No recovery time. Emotionally and physically drained every day. And still manages to be a hero and fantastic mother to our 8 year old child.
"Support and applaud these Women instead of shutting them down."
Wales Women's kit is washed for them when they train at the WRU's National Centre of Excellence, but they have been unable to do that for some periods of late due to Covid restrictions.
It's not been an easy road for Lake to represent Wales this year: she only made her debut for new club Gloucester-Hartpury a fortnight ago, which came four months after back surgery.
She admitted the night before the game she was "considering whether I am doing the right thing and should I continue playing", adding "I have missed game day buzz and 100% making the right decision to continue!"
Before her back injury, Lake was out of the game for a year until autumn 2019 with an eye injury.
Lake previously said of juggling rugby with work and motherhood: "It’s hard to fit it all in, especially at international level.
"Playing club rugby, it’s easier to miss training here and there or the extra sessions in the gym but you can’t do that at the highest level. It’s hard when children are ill or they don’t want you to leave them but I’m very lucky with fantastic family and work support which makes it all possible.
"Steff my partner and both sets of grandparents are always there whenever I need to get a gym session in or go to training and even when I’m away with the team so I’ve never had to worry about childcare. I wouldn’t be able to do it otherwise.
"It’s the same with work. I work part-time which makes it possible to spend some time with Jacob too and my employers are fantastic. They are very understanding and give me some flexibility to manage my time around training and matches."
As for being a mum to Jacob, Lake says he is a major motivation in her rugby career.
"I think if he sees me doing something I enjoy and have overcome certain barriers to get here, it might inspire him to do something he enjoys in the future even if there are obstacles on the way. That would make me a happy Mam."
In the wake of last weekend's defeat to Ireland, Wales captain Siwan Lillicrap had herself took to social media to address the "haters", saying "maybe one day they'll remember being kind if the bigger, better option".
She said: "Tough day & feeling it today physically & mentally. But wanted to say a huge thank you to all the lovely, brilliant people who have messaged to check in and showing your support."
The WRU is facing increased scrutiny and criticism over the women's set-up after consecutive heavy defeats.
Professional contracts to transform the women's game were publicly mooted by former WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips last summer, but nothing has materialised yet.
Lillicrap revealed at the start of this year's Six Nations that the squad were trusting the WRU process as they had not been informed contracts were off the table.