Head Coach Thomas Brindle has named a 36-player train-on squad ahead of his first game in charge of the Wales Women’s side.
Wales meet England at Warrington on Friday 25 June (6pm) and Brindle’s party includes 15 new players who have impressed at elite athlete identification camps (with applications received from sports such as netball, Association Football, bobsleigh and athletics) in north and south Wales earlier this month.
Nineteen, meanwhile, are retained from 2019’s inaugural squad and the remaining two players (Carys Marsh of Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves’ Keira McCosh) have been drafted in from the Betfred Super League.
There will be plenty of interest, too, in how twins Sara and Ffion Jones, both of Swansea RUFC, fare.
The squad is: Lianne Fletcher (Aber Valley Wolves), Ffion Jones, Sara Jones, Laura Keeble, Eleri Michael (all Bridgend Blue Bulls), Vicky Lea, Jess McAuley (both British Army), Lauren Aitken, Leanne Burnell, Harriet Cooksey, Danyelle Dinapoli, Seren Gough-Walters, Emily Hughes, Savannah Ledsam, Rebecca Llewellyn Ennis, Sian Moore, Charlie Mundy, Amberley Ruck, Kathryn Salter, Rafiuke Taylor – pictured (all Cardiff Blue Dragons), Angharad McCormack (London Broncos), Anne Marie Sayle, Charlotte Williams (both RAF), Rebecca Davies (North Wales Origin), Karla Benjamin, Shaunni Davies, Ffion Lewis, Zoe Lewis, Joeann McGuire, Claudia Meyrick, Lowri Norkett, Ffion Owen, Sara Prosser, Stacey Wright (all Rhondda Outlaws), Keira McCosh (Warrington Wolves), Carys Marsh (Wigan Warriors).
Michael (Wales Netball), Meyrick (Wales junior Football) and Williams (Great Britain Bobsleigh) are established internationals in other sports.
“We held a number of ID days with elite athletes to add to the current squad,” said Brindle, “and the standard and number of players is a great indicator of the talent in Wales.
“I am looking forward to getting on the pitch and working with squad as we build towards our first international test against England. We know the hard work starts now to make sure we are prepared and that we showcase the talent there is in Wales.”
Wales RL CEO Gareth Kear said: “The Covid-19 restrictions meant that only elite athletes could train in Wales, so we invited elite international athletes from all sports to apply for testing and identification.
“Our women’s international squad work to same standards as our men. As a governing body we ensure they have the same technical coaching, medical and nutritional support, together with the same professional training facilities and insurance cover, and we reward the players with participation bonus payments.”
“Our younger aspiring and community players will also have an opportunity to make this squad when Community Rugby League returns in June,” he stressed.
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