Wales and Ireland women announce squads for 2026 Rugby League World Cup qualifier

Wales and Ireland women have named their squads for the first match in Group A of the 2026 Women’s World Cup European qualifiers, to be held at Cardiff University Sports Park in Llanrumney this Saturday (kick-off 2.45pm).

 

The group winner will qualify automatically while the runners up will play their equivalent in group B for a place in the augural World Series next year, to determine the final place in the tournament. The other nation in the group will be the winner of the Italy v Netherlands eliminator which also takes place on Saturday. Ireland host the winners of that match in May with Wales travelling to them in June.

 

Wales have selected five potential debutants – the Cardiff Demons quartet of Kim Boaler, Lucia Davies, Tara Finnegan and Chelcey Greasley – plus Sheffield Eagles’ Agnes Wood. Charlie Mundy and Kathryn Salter are both set to win their tenth cap, the duo being the only two ever-presents in the Wales side since its formation in 2019.

 

Wales women head coach, Tom Brindle, said: “Ireland and ourselves started playing at the same time with the same goal in mind, qualifying for the World Cup. We’ve had two tough battles so far, each won a game, and we expect it to be tough again on Saturday. We’ve been building to this point for the last three years, and we tested ourselves last year by playing France and England, to better prepare the team for this important game. “

 

Wales will once again be captained by Leeds Rhinos’ Bethan Dainton. “I’m really looking forward to getting out there with the squad and putting into practice everything that we have been working hard on in training,” she said. “We’re still searching for that 80-minute performance and don’t know too much about the Ireland squad, but we know they’ll be similar to us, full of heart and desire.”

 

This encounter will be Alex McGuinness’s fifth appearance for Ireland, and her first time leading the team as captain. New Ireland women’s head coach, Matt Kennerson, who earned seven caps for Ireland men and has significant experience coaching both the men’s and women’s Dublin City Exiles teams, commented: “Our preparation has been thorough and I have every confidence in our squad to demonstrate the strength and unity we’ve built. We’re set to make a strong showing and proudly represent Ireland and our supporters.”

 

WALES SQUAD

WALES: Kim Boaler, Katie Carr, Lucia Davies, Shaunni Davies, Tara Finnegan, Jasmine Gibbons, Chelcey Greasley, Ffion Jenkins, Hannah Jones, Sara Jones, Charlie Mundy, Rhi Parker, Amy Price, Brittony Price (all Cardiff Demons), Ashlea Prescott (Featherstone Rovers), Bethan Dainton (Leeds Rhinos), Kathryn Salter (London Broncos), Agnes Wood (Sheffield Eagles), Georgia Taylor (York Valkyrie).

 

IRELAND SQUAD

Rachel Morton (Banbridge Broncos), Alex McGuinness, Alice Fitzgerald, Anna Potterton, Caoimhe Molloy, Cliodhna O’Sullivan, Clodagh Dunne, Grace Tutty, Lisa Callan, Niamh Griffin, Tricia Doyle, (Dublin City Exiles),Fran Copley (Featherstone Rovers),Holly O’Dwyer (Galway Tribeswoman),Megan Preston (Huddersfield Giants), Mairead Quinn, Mollie Young, Storm Cobain (Leigh Leopards) Lydia Egan (Salford Reds), Bettie Lambert (York Valkyrie)