Cross Keys RFC will stage international rugby league for the first time in 24 years next month, and only the second time ever, as the Wales Women’s side visit the famous Pandy Park to host England on Sunday, June 12 (kick-off 1pm).
The only other international in the 13-person code that’s been played at Keys was in 1998 when the skills of the late Hugh Waddell gave the newly formed Scotland Amateur side a 28-18 win over Wales A in what was the first meeting between the two nations at that level.
It’ll also be the first rugby league international match in Gwent since 2009 when Blackwood staged six Wales matches at various levels over a four-year period.
However, Cross Keys is no stranger to women’s international sport, as five Wales rugby union matches, including four from the Six Nations, were staged at Pandy Park between 2011 and 2014, with current Wales rugby league international Rafiuke Taylor coming on as a substitute for Wales against USA in the last of those games.
Another European opponent, yet TBC, will also visit Cross Keys to face Wales a week later.
Wales Rugby League’s General Manager Mark Jones said: “I’d like to thank Cross Keys for agreeing to stage not one, but two Wales Women’s matches at Pandy Park next month. After playing matches in Warrington and Colwyn Bay in 2021, we’re really looking forward to bringing the Wales Women’s side back to South Wales for the first time in three years.
“After the success of Cardiff Demons women in winning the Super League South, and I know a number of those players will be involved with the Wales side, we can’t wait to showcase women’s international pathway to our members and to a new audience.”
Wales head coach Thomas Brindle said: “We’re delighted that the Wales Women’s side will be back in action next month, with our first-ever South Wales-based test matches.
“Since we last met England, back in June last year in Warrington, most of our players have been through a Super League season, with Cardiff tasting success in Super League South and performing well at the Super League Nines. The game in Wales continues to grow success and we will see that with a few additions to our squad.
“We look forward to giving England a big Welsh Welcome. As we continue our journey it’s important that we test ourselves against the highest quality of oppression, to understand our own progress so we continue to develop but also to inspire the girls in Wales and showcase the highest quality of female athletes.”
Wales v England on June 12 will be shown live, exclusively and free on The Sportsman’s website, YouTube and Facebook channels.
Dave Rotheram, RFL Chief On-field Officer, says: “This is a hugely significant year for Women’s Rugby League and we are grateful to Wales Rugby League for creating an additional development opportunity for our England players ahead of the World Cup. This will be the second women’s international between England and Wales following last year’s match at Warrington, the Wales squad is getting stronger all the time, and England head coach Craig Richards and his team will be raring to go.”
Tickets can be bought now by going to https://wrl.wales/tickets.