England Women Head Coach Craig Richards has selected his 24-player squad ahead of the forthcoming Rugby League World Cup, with Wigan’s Victoria Molyneux and Georgia Wilson selected.
Molyneux makes the squad having made four appearances during 2022, the forward made her return to action in July after missing a big spell of the season with a knee injury. Wilson is also named, the versatile outside back made 12 appearances in Cherry & White this year, scoring 6 tries and 24 goals as she surpassed 200 career points for Wigan.
The squad includes all four winners of the Woman of Steel Award introduced in 2018 – the recently-crowned 2022 winner Tara-Jane Stanley, Jodie Cunningham, Georgia Roche and Courtney Winfield-Hill, the Australia-born Leeds Rhinos captain who qualifies for England on residency grounds and declared her eligibility earlier this year.
Newcastle-born Zoe Hornby – who produced a Player of the Match performance for Leeds Rhinos in the 2022 Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final – is the sole uncapped inclusion, while her Rhinos team-mate Keara Bennett, Zoe Harris of St Helens and the York City Knights forward Olivia Wood are all included after making their international debuts earlier this year.
St Helens provide 11 players in the squad whilst there are seven from Grand Final winners Leeds Rhinos and four from League Leaders’ Shield holders York City Knights.
England Women head coach Craig Richards said: “The process to select the final squad ahead of the Rugby League World Cup has been a difficult one, but I am confident I have picked the strongest squad available to me.
“I think we’re in a really privileged position to have some experienced players in the squad such as captain Emily Rudge who is heading into her fourth Rugby League World Cup, our all-time top try-scorer Amy Hardcastle, and players like Jodie Cunningham, Courtney Winfield-Hill and Tara-Jane Stanley.
“In contrast, we also have some very exciting younger players included with the likes of Hollie Dodd, Fran Goldthorp and Zoe Hornby.
“With just over a month before we kick it all off at Headingley Stadium against Brazil we are excited, focused and determined to make the most of this huge opportunity for Women’s Rugby League.”
England’s opener against Brazil on Tuesday 1 November is already guaranteed to be watched by a record attendance for a Women’s Rugby League fixture. They will then face Canada at Wigan’s DW Stadium on Saturday 5 November before a final group stage fixture back in Leeds against Papua New Guinea on Wednesday 9 November. Tickets are available online at rlwc2021.com
England Women World Cup Squad
Dannielle Anderson, Caitlin Beevers, Keara Bennett (all Leeds Rhinos), Leah Burke, Jodie Cunningham (both St Helens), Hollie Dodd, Grace Field (both York City Knights), Fran Goldthorp (Leeds Rhinos), Amy Hardcastle, Zoe Harris (both St Helens), Zoe Hornby (Leeds Rhinos), Shona Hoyle, Tara Jones (both St Helens), Victoria Molyneux (Wigan Warriors), Carrie Roberts (St Helens), Georgia Roche (Leeds Rhinos), Emily Rudge (St Helens), Tara-Jane Stanley (York City Knights), Beth Stott, Paige Travis (both St Helens), Courtney Winfield-Hill (Leeds Rhinos), Vicky Whitfield (St Helens), Georgia Wilson (Wigan Warriors), Olivia Wood (York City Knights)