BY SEBASTIAN STERNIK
With the Rugby League Women’s World Cup just a few months away, England are stepping up their preparations with a highly anticipated two-game series against France.
Speaking ahead of the opening match, England head coach, Chris Chapman said:
“The squad has been selected as an important part of the build up to the World Cup in November and will allow me and the coaching team to see a number of players in our environment for a sustained period of time.
“We also have five players of the twenty one who are hoping to make their debut over the week.”
The squad is made up of players from four clubs; nine of whom will be representing the Bradford Bulls.
While the men’s side have been fighting relegation in the Championship, the women’s outfit have been in fine form lately, winning all of their five league games and also making it to the Challenge Cup final for the very first time. Bradford head coach, Mark Prescott, said:
“I’m delighted to see nine Bradford Bulls players in the squad. The girls have been working really hard on and off the field and thoroughly deserve their places.”
The squad also includes seven players from the current domestic and European champions, Thatto Heath Ladies and five players from Featherstone Rovers.
One of the five players hoping to make their debut is Castleford’s Katie Hepworth, who becomes the first player to make an international squad from the Castleford Tigers Ladies. Speaking about her inclusion Hepworth said:
“It’s an honor to represent my country and to be the first person from my club to do this. It will be good to play against totally different people at a very high level.”
Castleford head coach, Lindsay Anfield, said:
“I am extremely pleased for Katie. She has been on the fringes of the squad for a couple of years now but over these past nine months, I have seen her really focus, knuckle down and strive to be a part of this squad.”
The first test kicks off at 18:00 tonight while the rematch will be a 17:00 kick off this coming Saturday.
Amy Hardcastle (Bradford Bulls), Andrea Dobson (Featherstone Rovers), Brogan Churm (Featherstone Rovers), Charlotte Booth (Bradford Bulls), Chantelle Crowl (Thatto Heath St Helens), Claire Garner (Bradford Bulls), Danika Priim (Bradford Bulls), Emily Rudge (Thatto Heath St Helens), Faye Gaskin (Thatto Heath St Helens), Jenny Welsby (Thatto Heath St Helens), Jess Courtman (Bradford Bulls), Katie Hepworth (Castleford Tigers), Kayleigh Bulman (Featherstone Rovers), Kirsty Moroney (Bradford Bulls), Lois Forsell (Bradford Bulls), Natalie Harrowell (Featherstone Rovers), Rachel Thompson (Thatto Heath St Helens), Shona Hoyle (Bradford Bulls), Sinead Peach (Featherstone Rovers), Stacey White (Bradford Bulls), Tara Jones (Thatto Heath St Helens), Tara Stanley (Thatto Heath St Helens)