Craig Richards revels in Royal approval as England seal semi-final spot

England coach Craig Richards revelled in Royal approval after his side swept aside Canada 54-4 to confirm their place in the semi-finals of the women’s Rugby League World Cup.

Tara-Jane Stanley led England’s 11-try romp with a hat-trick plus 10 points with the boot, while Leah Burke and Hollie Dodd each helped themselves to a brace as England backed up their opening win over Brazil.

Afterwards Richards and his team met the Princess of Wales, who was present at the double-header at the DW Stadium in her first engagement as Royal patron of the Rugby Football League.

“We met her as a team which was absolutely fantastic, and it was also a huge honour for myself,” said Richards.

“Where I’m from you don’t think you’ll ever get to meet a Royal and particularly with the way it was done, it was beautiful.

“She talked about the women and what they go through, and the physicality of the game. She had obviously done her homework on rugby league and she talked a lot about the girls and how they can be so inspiring and role models.”

Richards brought his seven remaining squad members into the line-up and is now closer to knowing his best line-up as he switches attention to his side’s final group game against Papua New Guinea on Wednesday.

And Richards admitted he is anxious for the sterner test that is likely to be provided by the Orchids, having breezed through their two opening games with the minimum of opposition.

“What we really need is a tight game,” added Richards. “We want to win but we need a tough game and I think Papua New Guinea will give us that.

“It’s not just about winning games, it’s about the tournament, and we need to be tested a little bit more than we are at the moment. A really good arm-wrestle would do us the world of good.”