Meet England womens Rugby League World Cup stars from RFL of
2022-11-29

From PE teachers to healthcare assistants, we take a closer look at all those who will be in action from November 1

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For the first time ever the sport of rugby league is holding three versions of its World Cup at the same time, with the mens womens and wheelchair events running concurrently. While the men have had the limelight all to themselves over the past two weeks, its now time for the women to step into the spotlight also.

England womens teamhave high hopes for the tournament and are a squad boasting plenty of experience and know how. While that may be the case, still little is known to many about a squad full of talent.

Some 18 of the 24 players in Craig Richards England womens squad for theRugby League World Cupcome from Super League champions Leeds Rhinos and Challenge Cup winners St Helens. From PE teachers to healthcare assistants, we take a closer look at all those who will be in action from November 1 as they, like their male counterparts, bid to win the World Cup on home soil.

Skipper and St Helens back rower Emily Rudge, 30, is a PE teacher at Rainford High School and was named Englands best player in the last World Cup. The leader on and off the field, Rudge will be a key player for the host nation and will have a big say on whether they achieve their aims.

Read more:England forward cleared to play in World Cup quarter-final after incident against Greece

Prop Dannielle Anderson was named Leeds Rhinos coaches player of the year in the inaugural Super League season before earning her first England call-up in 2018 against France. The Covid-enforced delay to the tournament came at a fortuitous time for the 27-year-old, who works in a residential and dementia care home, given she was waiting for an ACL reconstruction in June 2021.

Leeds Rhinos full-back Caitlin Beevers works in a paint factory and mixes her playing career with refereeing. The Dewsbury-born speedster broke new ground in 2018 as the first female to whistle at Wembley when she took charge of the Steven Mullaney Memorial game, the Year Seven boys Champion Schools final, and turns 21 on October 11.

Pontefract-born hooker Keara Bennett, 20, came through the academy at Leeds Rhinos before announcing herself in the 2019 double-winning season while doing her A-levels and bagging the No.9 shirt in 2021. Leeds Beckett University student Bennett, who has done part-time work as a multi-sport coach for kids, got her international break when she was named in England Womens National Performance Squad back in January before making her debut against France in June.

Former elite gymnast Leah Burke had her 10-year career cut short by a back injury before first picking up a rugby ball five years ago. Described as a classic rugby league winger, St Helens Burke is a prolific try scorer and the 23-year-old who studies at university in Leeds - has helped them win back-to-back Challenge Cups.

Arguably the sports most recognisable star, Jodie Cunningham is preparing to represent England at her third World Cup having made her international debut in 2009. Cunningham, 30, is equally adept at full-back or loose forward and was named Woman of Steel for her scintillating form during St Helens treble-winning season in 2021. She was appointed National Womens and Girls Development Manager for the Rugby Football League in November last year and has also worked for Rugby League World Cup 2021 as their Community Engagement Lead.

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Hollie Dodd made her Castleford Tigers debut in the 2019 Challenge Cup final the day after her 16th birthday before making her international bow last year having progressed from the England Knights. Now at the York City Knights, 19-year-old centre/back rower Dodd won the Womens Super League young player of the year award for 2022.

Prop Grace Field, 25, made her England debut on the tour to Papua New Guinea in 2019. Field balances her rugby commitments with her role as Sport, Exercise and Wellbeing Co-ordinator at YSJActive.

Leeds Rhinos full-back/wing Fran Goldthorp, 19, has been earmarked as one of Englands brightest young things by coach Richards. Goldthorp burst onto the scene at the Rhinos as a 16-year-old and is studying at Loughborough University for a foundation year in Sport and Exercise Science.

St Helens centre Amy Hardcastle, 33, is one of the sides most experienced members having made her debut in 2009 and is in line for her third World Cup appearance. In 2020, Hardcastle was the only Englishwoman named in the womens team of the decade and worked on the frontline during the Covid pandemic in her role as a healthcare assistant in A&E at Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax.

Skilful half-back Zoe Harris is an ever-present in the St Helens side and has taken her chance on the international stage after making her England bow in June against Wales.

Leeds Rhinos loose forward Zoe Hornby, 23, was so impressive in this years Challenge Cup final that she still bagged the player of the match award despite finishing on the losing side. Hornby, the only uncapped player in the squad, is a student at Northumbria University and works for Newcastle Uniteds Foundation as a football coach.

St Helens loose forward Shona Hoyle, 29, scored her first try for England against Papua New Guinea in the 2017 World Cup. Hoyle began her career at 16 with Siddal before taking a break to give birth to her son and has also worked as an education support worker at a school with autistic and challenging children.

Tara Jones, 25, combines being a quality hooker for St Helens with life as a match official for the RFL. In 2018, she became the first female on field match official in the Betfred Super League.

Wigan Warriors loose forward Vicky Molyneux, 34, made her England debut back in 2007 when some of her current teammates were still in nappies. However, the PE teacher who represented Team GB teachers in 2019 had a 14-year wait for her next involvement with the national side which came when she bagged an assist in the 60-0 win over Wales in 2021.

Carrie Roberts is a military training instructor in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and travelled the world with the armys rugby union team having picked up the game aged 19 before later crossing codes. Deployment to Afghanistan disrupted her England career but a starring display for the British Army in the 2019 Challenge Shield final put her back on Richards radar before the centre moved to hometown club St Helens in 2021.

Half-back Georgia Roche made a try-scoring England debut in the 54-4 win over France in 2018, the same year she was named Super Leagues inaugural Woman of Steel aged just 18. She was also shortlisted for the BBCs Young Sports Personality of the Award and moved to Leeds Rhinos, the club she supported as a child, for the 2022 season, helping them to Grand Final glory.

York City Knights full-back Tara-Jane Stanley suffered team disappointment but personal joy after losing the Super League Grand Final to Leeds Rhinos before being crowned the 2022 Woman of Steel. Stanley, 29, works in sales for an electrical wholesaler and will play in her third consecutive World Cup. She is aiming to follow in the footsteps of Lionesses ace Alex Greenwood, who she used to play football with at Everton despite being a Liverpool fan.

Talented half-back Beth Stott made the move from rugby union to rugby league in 2019 when she joined St Helens. Her grandad and great-uncle both played for Saints, and Stott mum to a young daughter - has won back-to-back Challenge Cups in the Red Vee.

Back row Paige Travis made her England debut against Wales in 2021 and has tasted plenty of success at domestic level since joining St Helens last year. A former gymnast, 21-year-old Travis has also previously played rugby union and is currently a student.

Australian-born Courtney Winfield-Hill made her name playing cricket in the Big Bash but moved to the UK from down under in 2018 to be closer to wife Lauren, an England cricketer. Winfield-Hill began playing rugby league for the first time in two decades after visa issues blocked her from playing cricket and the Leeds Rhinos half-back went on to be crowned Woman of Steel in 2019. The 35-year-old, who works as a cricket coach, qualified for England on residency and revealed she is proud to play for the country where she has experienced all her senior rugby, despite admitting to singing both anthems during the Ashes.

Prop Vicky Whitfield scored three tries in 11 appearances for St Helens this season and first toured with England back in 2018. Whitfield works as a learning administrator at TRS Training Ltd.

Outside back Georgia Wilson has scored over 200 points for Wigan Warriors since she switched codes in 2018. Cumbrian Wilson, 25, made her England debut against Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby in 2019 and this year featured in the 32-6 win over Wales. Wilson works as a sports coach for Wigan and enjoys paddle boarding near her Lake District home.

A move from second row to prop helped York City Knights 21-year-old self-described workhorse Olivia Wood make her England debut against Wales in June.

The Rugby League World Cup promises to be the biggest, best and most inclusive event in the sports 127-year history with mens, womens and wheelchair teams competing in 61 games across 21 venues throughout England. Tickets are available /tickets

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