Cymru to face Ireland in World Cup qualifiers

We will renew rivalries with Ireland in a bid to qualify for a first ever Rugby League World Cup.

Captain Bethan Dainton and her teammates have been drawn against the Irish and either Italy or Netherlands in group A of the European qualifiers, with teams playing each other once and the nation topping the group earning a place in the World Cup in 2026.

Group B is comprised of France, Greece and Serbia. The second-placed side in each of the groups will meet in a play-off in October, with the winners entering the 2025 World Series, which will provide the final opportunity to earn a spot at the World Cup.

Wales won convincingly on Irish soil in 2022 to claim the Euro B (North) title, but narrowly lost the first meeting between the two nations in 2021, held at Stadiwm CSM in Colwyn Bay.

Italy were also defeated in 2022 on the way to claiming the trophy, but it would be a first meeting with Netherlands. Those two countries will play a play-off in April to determine who takes their place in group A.

“We’re excited by the opportunity that lies ahead of us,” said Wales head coach, Tom Brindle.

“Everything over the last few years has been about putting ourselves in the strongest possible position to qualify for the World Cup. We took a lot from testing ourselves against France and England in the autumn and we’ll look to put those experiences to best use for these two matches.

“We’ve not played Netherlands before, but we’ve faced both Ireland and Italy over the last couple of years and had positive results. But we know that whoever we play, we’ll need to make sure we’re the best version of ourselves to achieve our ambition of being the first Wales team to play in a women’s Rugby League World Cup.”

The qualifying fixtures will take place in April, May and June, with full details to be confirmed in due course.