Ahead of Wales Women’s first ever home test-ranked match in five days’ time, Wales Rugby League have announced their first set of heritage numbers for this elite international side.

Wales take on Ireland at Stadiwm Zipworld in Colwyn Bay this Sunday (kick-off 2.30pm) in their first test-ranked match on home soil, but played their first international games back in 2019.

Wales normally only award a cap and a heritage number to those who have played in a full international, as in a match played against another nation (e.g. England, Australia, USA etc), but will this time go against the tradition set by their other two elite sides – the men and the wheelchair – by naming players who have pulled on a Wales shirt for a friendly or first class game, but haven’t played in a full international.

This is because Wales’ first two matches in 2019 were against Great Britain Teachers and England Lions. Wales used 23 players that year, all of whom played against the Teachers, and their shirt numbers in that game make up the first 23 heritage numbers.

Wales head coach Thomas Brindle said: “We had to reward our founder players from 2019. If they hadn’t played for sides like Cardiff Blue Dragons and Rhondda Outlaws, who provided 22 of that original squad, we wouldn’t have had a team. We lost 2020 due to Covid and fourteen of those 23 who played in 2019 haven’t been in Wales squads this year. It would be unfair to write them out of history which is why we’ve bent our heritage number rules just this once.”

Wales Rugby League CEO Gareth Kear said: “When I took over in 2019, outside of the Wheelchair game, we didn’t have a single female Rugby League player in Wales, so I am immensely proud of what’s been achieved. This first heritage women’s international list shows how far we have come and ensures that all of our founder players are recognised and etched in history as pioneers of women’s sport in Wales.”

The Wales men’s side first played in 1908, but their heritage numbers were first calculated in 2010 by Ian Golden, using the research work by fellow historian Robert Gate that was published in his book “Gone North Volume 1” for matches up until 1984 and Rothmans or League Express yearbooks from then on. The Wales Wheelchair side, who are also playing Ireland this weekend, their match being at Glyndwr University in Wrexham on Saturday (kick-off 12.45pm) played their first match in 2012.

Wales v Ireland in a Women’s international match this Sunday at Stadiwm Zipworld, Colwyn Bay, kicks-off at 2.30pm. To buy tickets for £5 for adults, children U16 go free, go to https://wrl.wales/tickets.

WALES WOMEN RUGBY LEAGUE HERITAGE NUMBERS BELOW (click here for more data)

1

Savannah Ledsam

2

Zoe Lewis

3

Rebecca Llewellyn Ennis

4

Seren Gough-Walters

5

Megan Oaten

6

Kathryn Salter

7

Leanne Burnell

8

Emily Hughes

9

Jess Wallington

10

Vicky Lea

11

Joeann McGuire

12

Ffion Owen

13

Rafiuke Taylor

14

Stacey Wright

15

Kim Jones

16

Lauren Aitken

17

Rhian Stephens

18

Laura Keeble

19

Harriet Cooksey

20

Shaunni Davies

21

Karla Benjamin

22

Charlie Mundy

23

Sara Prosser

24

Jess McAuley

25

Lowri Norkett

26

Eleri Michael

27

Amberley Ruck

28

Ffion Lewis

29

Carys Marsh

30

Keira McCosh

31

Danyelle Dinapoli

32

Sara Jones
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