England name young squad for women’s internationals
England Rugby League Head Coach Brenda Dobek has named a strong blend of youth and experience in the 20-woman squad that will cross the Channel for two Tests against France later this week.
The squad, which departs on July 17, includes four under-18s who have emerged from the talent development programme this year: Hannah Bairstow, Jodie Lea Cunningham, Emily Rudge and sixteen year old Kelsey Morgan.
England will play both fixtures in Toulouse on July 19 and 25 when Dobek will be joined by an experienced backroom team providing enhanced mental and physical support.
“The trip to France will be an opportunity for the women to build on our performance in the World Cup last year and a chance for the new and experienced to help cement their places for the next World Cup in England in 2012,” said Dobek.
RFL Performance Programmes Manager Nic Corrigan said: “The tour to France will be used as an assessment tool as we mark the progress of the women in the lead up to the World Cup.
“In order to realise our potential, the team are now fully integrated into the RFL Performance and Coaching department support structures. Coming to France will give us the opportunity to create a competitive environment vital in preparation for the World Cup but most importantly allowing players to develop their talent.
“Following the test series players will then embark on the remaining talent development squad dates, with another 20 players identified form the Carnegie Rugby League Super 4 competition aimed at long term player development across key areas such as technical ability, lifestyle and nutrition.”
Both Tests kick off at 6pm with the second game acting as a curtain raiser to Toulouse Olympique v Widnes Vikings in the Co-operative Championship.
The England women’s squad in full is:
Hannah Bairstow (Middleton)
Danielle Bose (Bradford Thunderbirds)
Jodie-Lea Cunningham (Warrington Ladies RC)
Andrea Dobson (Wakefield Panthers)
Natalie Gilmour (Wakefield Panthers)
Claire Hall (Copeland Wildcats)
Amy Hardcastle (Siddal Ladies)
Charlene Henegan (Bradford Thunderbirds)
Isobel Howard (Warrington Ladies RC)
Margaret Lowish (Nottingham Outlaws)
Kelsey Morgan (Wakefield Panthers)
Katie O'Toole (Wakefield Panthers)
Sarah Roper (Copeland Wildcats)
Emily Rudge (Warrington Ladies RC)
Emma Slowe (Wakefield Panthers)
Beth Sutcliffe (Hillside Hawkes)
Lisa Taylor (Middleton)
Rachel Twibill (Bradford Thunderbirds)
Joanne Watmore (Warrington Ladies RC)
Jenny Welsby (Warrington Ladies RC)
– but the sailors praise the new boats