ERLW (European Rugby League Women’s) Euro B Championship North title winners will be decided when Ireland host Wales in the final round on Saturday 8 October, at Donnybrook Stadium in Dublin (kick off 3pm).
Both nations defeated Italy earlier in the campaign, Wales by the bigger margin, meaning they only need a draw but they will be wary, as Ireland defeated them when making their international debut a year ago.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming Wales for our very first home international fixture which has all the makings of a terrific Test match,” said Ireland head coach John Whalley. “We’ll be looking to build our momentum from the Italy fixture and take that into next year, and our goal of qualifying for the World Cup in France in 2025.”
Whalley has named six uncapped players, with Sinead O’Brien and Laoise Mcagonagle coming into the squad following impressive IRL Women’s Grand Final performances for Galway Tribeswomen alongside Lisa Callen from Dublin City Exiles, whilst Louise Burgess and Gabby Harrison bring experience from the mainland, Jemma Farrell the other potential newcomer.
Wales head coach Tom Brindle has made three additions to the squad who beat Italy in June. Leanne Burnell, who was player of match against England but missed the Italy game through injury returns to the squad, as does Ffion Jones, whose twin sister Sara is an absentee, whilst Ffion Jenkins of both Bridgend Blue Bulls and Cardiff Demons will be hoping to win her first cap.
Brindle commented: “We played Ireland last year and it was a great game, albeit one where we ended up on the wrong side of the result. This is another chance, a year on, to see how far we’ve progressed as a group, and with it being a Euro B game the added pressure to win makes it exciting and one where we want to lift silverware.”
IRELAND WOMEN’S SQUAD : Storm Cobain (Bedford Tigers), Lisa Callan*, Ali Coleman, Roisin Crowe, Clodagh Dunne, Ray Lawless, Alex McGuinness, Amy O’Neill (Dublin City Exiles), Charlie Willet (Exeter Chiefs), Francessca Copley, Gabby Harrison* (Featherstone Rovers), Laoise McGonagle*, Sinead O’Brien* (Galway Tribeswomen), Mairead Quinn (Leigh Miners Rangers), Iona McCusker (London Broncos), Jemma Farrell* (Old Belvedere), Louise Burgess* (Oxford Cavaliers), Philippa Birchall (St Helens), Bettie Lambert (York City Knights)
WALES WOMEN’S SQUAD : Katie Carr, Rosie Carr, Ffion Jenkins*, Ffion Jones, Eleri Michael (Bridgend Blue Bulls / Cardiff Demons), Lauren Aitken, Leanne Burnell, Charlie Mundy, Rhi Parker, Brittony Price, Amberley Ruck (Cardiff Blue Dragons / Cardiff Demons), Emily Hughes, Kathryn Salter (London Broncos), Bryonie King, Joeann McGuire, Molly Reardon (Rhondda Outlaws / Cardiff Demons), Fern Davies (Warrington Wolves), Carys Marsh (Wigan Warriors)
*denotes new cap