Wales Women’s head coach Thomas Brindle has named a 37-player train-on squad for the 2025 World Cup qualifying campaign that takes place between September 2023 and May 2024.
The Welsh will host Netherlands on the weekend of September 30, travel to Greece four weeks later, before completing their campaign with a trip to Turkey in 13 months’ time.
No fewer than 26 of the 37 players come from Cardiff Demons which will be a big boost for them ahead of their televised Rugby League Challenge Cup game at home to Wigan Warriors this Sunday. Many of these players started playing rugby league at local community clubs in Wales like Cardiff Blue Dragons, Rhondda Outlaws and Bridgend Blue Bulls.
There are also players from the British Army, Castleford Tigers, Leeds Rhinos, London Broncos, Nottingham Outlaws, Salford Red Devils, Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors, whilst former Wolves player Fern Davies is currently working overseas.
There are 12 potential new caps, seven of whom, Kim Boaler, Chelcey Greasley, Courtney Greenway, Ffion Jenkins, Chelsea Jones, Savannah Picton-Powell and Sophie Solari, were part of the Demons squad who won the Super League South title last year. Although uncapped, Boaler and Jenkins have already been part of previous Wales squads.
Jasmine Gibbons has joined the Demons ahead of this Sunday’s Challenge Cup tie. A newcomer to rugby league, she has played rugby union for Llandaff North, Cardiff University, Worcester Warriors and Cardiff Blues.
Hannah Jones is another potential Demons and Wales debutant. Not to be confused with the current Wales rugby union captain, she played the 15-person game for Swansea and the Ospreys for three years. She currently plays rugby union for the Welsh Police, British Police and West Swansea Hawks.
Jade Mullen and Hannah Williams are both with the British Army and UK Armed Forces. Mullen has captained the Army in rugby union whilst Williams has played for both in the 13-player game.
Finally, Ashlea Prescott has been playing rugby league for 22 years. Halifax-born with Welsh heritage, she played for Bradford Clayton Thunderbirds as a junior. She has since represented Yorkshire, England Students and Great Britain Teachers. Captain of Bedford Tigers for the last two years, she has now signed with Nottingham Outlaws for 2023.
There are returns for four players who missed out in 2022 – Becki Davies, Shaunni Davies, Danyelle Dinapoli and Keira McCosh. Shaunni Davies, who captained Wales in 2021, returns after suffering a horrific injury in the Super League South semi-final that year, which put her out of the game for over 12 months.
Brindle said: “We are at the start of our first World Cup campaign which is really exciting, and we are heading into a crucial period for our squad, where qualification for the RWLC2025 is the first priority.
“As such, we ran a trial earlier in the year to see if we could unearth any talent and add to the strength and depth of our squad. It’s great to see that we’ve added six new people to the squad plus the addition of some returning players.
“I am really pleased to see the breath of the squad increase, whilst also rewarding the great work being done by Ian Newbury and the team at Cardiff Demons. It’s also great to see some of our squad excel in other sports, and bring back those learnings and life experiences to add to our group.”
WALES SQUAD: Hannah Williams* (Army Rugby League), Lauren Aitken, Kim Boaler*, Leanne Burnell, Rosie Carr, Katie Carr, Shaunni Davies, Danyelle Dinapoli, Jasmine Gibbons*, Seren Gough Walters, Chelcey Greasley*, Courtney Greenway*, Ffion Jenkins*, Chelsea Jones*, Ffion Jones, Hannah Jones*, Sara Jones, Bryonie King, Joeann McGuire, Eleri Michael, Charlie Mundy, Rhi Parker, Savannah Picton-Powell*, Brittany Price, Molly Reardon, Amberley Ruck, Sophie Solari* (all Cardiff Demons), Anne-Marie Sayle (Castleford Tigers), Bethan Dainton (Leeds Rhinos), Emily Hughes, Jade Mullen*, Kathryn Salter (all London Broncos), Ashlea Prescott* (Nottingham Outlaws), Becki Davies (Salford Red Devils), Keira McCosh (Warrington Wolves), Carys Marsh (Wigan Warriors), Fern Davies (unattached).