England Women name National Performance Squad

·3-min read

England Women head coach Craig Richards has selected a 31-strong National Performance Squad as preparations for the Rugby League World Cup continue.

The group will meet for the first time in 2022 on Saturday 15 January at Weetwood Sports Park, Leeds.

Leeds hooker Keara Bennett has been introduced to the squad following impressive showings for the Rhinos culminating in a Women’s Super League Grand Final appearance last season.

The Rhinos provide eight players including off-season signings Emma Lumley and 2018 Woman of Steel Georgia Roche. Hollie Dodd – who made her international debut last season – and Tara Stanley are both also named after leaving Castleford Tigers for York City Knights ahead of the 2022 season.

St Helens dominate squad selection

2021 treble-winners St Helens have 12 players included in the squad including reigning Woman of Steel Jodie Cunningham and England captain Emily Rudge. Saints trio Beth Stott, Paige Travis and Rachael Woosey all made their international debuts last year and are included.

Four Wigan players are named in the National Performance Squad. Experienced international Shona Hoyle represents Huddersfield Giants following their promotion to Group 1 of the BWSL in 2022.

Read more: Castleford Tigers Women appoint new head coach

Craig Richards on National Performance Squad

England Women head xoach Craig Richards said: “I’m really pleased to have named our first National Performance Squad in a World Cup year.

“The majority of the players included have been in or around the programme for some time now. I feel we have some real quality amongst the squad.

“It’s great to have been able to add Keara Bennett to the squad after she consistently performed for Leeds throughout 2021. We had several international debutants last season. There are certainly going to be opportunities for players to break into the side before the World Cup.

“We’ve been building towards this World Cup for a number of years now. But we know how crucial our preparations over the next nine months are going to be.”

England Women will begin their Rugby League World Cup campaign against Brazil at Headingley Stadium on Tuesday 1 November. Followed by a clash with Canada at Wigan’s DW Stadium on Saturday 5 November. A final group stage fixture back in Leeds against Papua New Guinea on Wednesday 9 November completes the group stages.

The RFL are looking to finalise a mid-season international programme. That is set to see England Women take to the field before this year’s Rugby League World Cup

Read more: Full 61-match schedule confirmed for World Cup

England Women National Performance Squad:

Dannielle Anderson, Caitlin Beevers, Keara Bennett, Fran Goldthorp, Georgia Roche, Amy Johnson, Chloe Kerrigan, Emma Lumley (Leeds Rhinos), Leah Burke, Chantelle Crowl, Jodie Cunningham, Amy Hardcastle, Tara Jones, Carrie Roberts, Emily Rudge, Beth Stott, Paige Travis, Vicky Whitfield, Naomi Williams, Rachael Woosey (St Helens), Savannah Andrade, Hollie Dodd, Grace Field, Kelsey Gentles, Tara Stanley, Olivia Wood (York City Knights), Rebecca Greenfield, Vicky Molyneux, Rachel Thompson, Georgia Wilson (Wigan Warriors), Shona Hoyle (Huddersfield Giants).

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about the 2025 World Cup in France

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