The Wales Women’s and Dragonhearts head coaches have named their travelling squads for the England Lions double header at Pilkington Recs in St Helens this Saturday writes Ian Golden.
England Lions Under 23s v Wales Dragonhearts kick things off at 2.00pm, which is immediately followed by the historic England Lions v Wales Womens test match at 4.00pm.
Both games will be broadcast live on the Rugby Football League’s OuRLeague app and at https://www.rugby-league.com/.
Wales Women Rugby League will take a squad of 23 to England. Head coach Craig Taylor has named the order of his line-up, which will be reduced to 19 on match-day.
They played their first ever match on 26 October in Neath when they went down 30-6 to Great Britain Teachers after having been 6-4 up at half-time. Emily Hughes scored the Wales try with Kathryn Salter converting.
Now they will face an England Lions side in what will also be the home side’s first ever outing, with the England first team currently touring Papua New Guinea.
Taylor was impressed on how his side performed in the first half of the first game and knows that the experience of that game, coupled with some good training sessions since then, will see an improved performance.
He said: “Selection has been extremely difficult for this match. The girls have worked so hard and I’m gutted that we’ll have had to leave some out.
“Having said that, my assistant James Allen and I feel that this squad is developing a great culture, and going forward this will make us a very tough team to play against.
“I’m expecting a big game from the girls. I’m sure it will be a much more measured and controlled performance than the first game. They got so much from the match against Great Britain Teachers and are now starting to understand why we are asking them to play in a certain way. “We have asked them to play with passion and pride for their country, to be aggressive, complete sets – and the score will take care of itself.”
He concluded: “It’s an historic day in Rugby League, it’s the first women’s international between England and Wales.
“This in itself shows the rapid growth and expansion of the female game. Whatever the result Women’s Rugby League will be the winner. I hope that a good day is had by all, and I wish both sets of players good luck.”
Wales Dragonhearts head coach Ian Newbury has named a 20-man travelling squad for their third match of the Motorplus Autumn Series.
The representative side of the community game in Wales are unbeaten so far in 2019 thanks to wins over Southern England Lionhearts and Lithuania, but they know that this will be their toughest test yet.
The match officially celebrates 25 years of community internationals from Wales, the first being a 14-10 defeat to England on Sunday 27 March 1994 at Morfa Stadium in Swansea.
Following that game Welshman Jason Lee was promptly signed by Warrington and ended up playing seven times for the full Welsh national side whilst David Williams, also in that first side, played twice for Wales against USA in 1995 and also played professionally for South Wales RLFC in 1996.
Since then the number of players to have turned out for both the Wales Dragonhearts and the full Wales men’s side has reached 29, which includes current Wales men’s captain Elliot Kear.
Wales take on England Lions Under 23s as the senior England Lions side have been touring New Zealand but coach Newbury still knows they’ll be a threat following their 26-14 win against Ireland’s domestic representative side last Saturday.
He said: “We are sitting two from two this autumn but we are under no illusions that this is a big step up this week. We showed signs on Sunday of everyone clicking together, but there were still moments of individual errors that we need to overcome if we want to be successful this Saturday.
“It says something for the development and strength of the game in Wales how this squad is performing and I’m excited to test out that against the yardstick of the old enemy on Saturday.”
Newbury has made six changes in his 17, with Liam Silver in line for his Dragonhearts debut. Geoffrey Hick, Gareth Howells, Luca Owen-Youens, Ben Stelmaszek and Wesley Cunliffe return.
WALES DRAGONHEARTS: Geoffrey Hick (Torfaen Tigers, East Wales), Kurtis Haille (Torfaen Tigers, East Wales), Liam Watton (Valley Cougars, East Wales), Gareth Howells (Bridgend Blue Bulls, West Wales), Liam Silver (Torfaen Tigers, East Wales), Ben Jones (Valley Cougars, West Wales), Shane Lee (Valley Cougars, West Wales), Luca Owen-Youens (North Wales Crusaders A, North Wales Origin), Dean Higgs (Valley Cougars, East Wales), Tom Matthews (Torfaen Tigers, East Wales), Ben Stelmaszek (Thatto Heath Crusaders, North Wales Origin), Craig Lewis (Valley Cougars, East Wales), Mike Hurley (Valley Cougars, East Wales). Subs:
Grant Harrington (Torfaen Tigers, East Wales), Darrel Moyle (Torfaen Tigers, East Wales), Paul Welch (North Wales Crusaders A, North Wales Origin), Wesley Cunliffe (Torfaen Tigers, East Wales). Reserves:
Shaun Watton (Rhondda Outlaws, East Wales), Jonah Huntley (Rhondda Outlaws, West Wales), Corey Harris (Bridgend Blue Bulls, West Wales).
WALES WOMEN (from): Kathryn Salter (v-c) (Cardiff Blue Dragons, East Wales), Zoe Lewis (Rhondda Outlaws, East Wales), Rafiuke Taylor (c) (Cardiff Blue Dragons, West Wales), Seren Gough-Walters (Cardiff Blue Dragons), Savannah Ledsam (Cardiff Blue Dragons, West Wales), Shaunni Davies (Rhondda Outlaws, East Wales), Leanne Burnell (Cardiff Blue Dragons, West Wales), Emily Hughes (Cardiff Blue Dragons), Jess Wallington (Cardiff Blue Dragons), Vicky Lea (British Army, GB Armed Forces), Lauren Aitken (Cardiff Blue Dragons, West Wales), Rebecca Llewellyn Ennis (Cardiff Blue Dragons, West Wales), Ffion Owen (Rhondda Outlaws, East Wales), Kim Jones (Cardiff Blue Dragons, East Wales), Charlie Mundy (Cardiff Blue Dragons, East Wales), Joeann McGuire (Rhondda Outlaws, East Wales), Megan Oaten (Rhondda Outlaws), Rhian Stephens (Rhondda Outlaws, West Wales), Stacey Wright (Rhondda Outlaws, East Wales), Laura Keeble (Cardiff Blue Dragons, West Wales), Karla Benjamin (Rhondda Outlaws, East Wales), Sara Prosser (Rhondda Outlaws, East Wales), Harriet Cooksey (Cardiff Blue Dragons, West Wales).
ENGLAND WOMEN (from): Leah Cottier, Hannah Sherlock, Jodie Crawford, Emily Stirzaker, Jodie Litherland, Bethany Lindsay, Natalie Saunders (all Barrow), Lauren Harvey (Cutsyke Raiders), Olivia Cummins, Bethan Oates, Isabel Biby (Huddersfield Giants), Emma Templeton (Keighley Albion), Keli Grey, Celia Farrimond, Leanne Johnson, Mairead Quinn (Leigh Miners Rangers), Lyndsey Cunnett, Rachael Barker, Sophie Bickerdike (Stanningley), Keira McCosh, Rebeck Wilson, Teilia Backo, Dani Bound, Michelle Davis (Warrington Wolves), Leah McFarlane, Paige Webster (West Leeds), Samantha Hulme (Whitley Bay Barbarians), Sarina Tamou, Charlize Magraw (Widnes Vikings).
ENGLAND MEN: Sam Arrowsmith (Wigan St Patricks), Danny Cassidy (Ince Rose Bridge), Jack Georgiou (Siddal), Harvey Gotts (Skirlaugh), Brad Hailes (Egremont), Liam Kenyon, Jack Reynolds (both Leigh Miners Rangers), Sam Lewis (Orrell St James), Marc Lomas (Thatto Heath Crusaders), Harry McAllister (Featherstone Lions), Connor Molyneaux, Dean Rooney (Wath Brow Hornets), Jacob Moore, Harry Tyson-Wilson, Jack Watts (West Hull), Josh Poskitt (Beverley), Jack Smith (Stanningley), Tom Sowerby (Lock Lane).