Netherlands and Wales women win in European 2026 Rugby League World Cup qualifiers

ELIMINATOR – ITALY 6 NETHERLANDS 56

 

Netherlands’ greater experience in key positions and speed out wide saw them run in eleven tries to take a place in Pool A, after a comprehensive win over Italy at the Maurizio Quaggia Stadium, in Mogliano, Venice.

 

London Broncos fullback Nicole Kennedy ran in a hat trick of tries, second rower Linneke Gevers matching her effort. Centre Lisa Berding was superb defensively, finishing with a try and four goals, while Hannah Van Beukering’s try just before the half hour – a blistering 70 metre touchline run in front of the vociferous main grandstand was a key moment.

 

NRLB chair, Daan van Rossum, commented: “I know the girls can definitely play rugby league, but what they showed today was beyond our imagination. It was on a different level and so fitting for our national holiday, King’s Day. Some of the plays we saw, our men can learn from them, I’m really, really happy.

 

“Ireland and Wales are big rugby countries so it is going to be tough for us but for some of the girls this was only their second game, and it will do wonders for their confidence.”

 

Italy prop Giulia Iozzi was sinbinned in the fifth minute for hair pulling in the tackle and the Oranje immediately ran in two tries, Gevers with her first and loose forward Kaylee Geerlings crossing to make it 10-0.

 

Home captain Marvin Severgnini replied from a base of the scrum move and her side enjoyed a spell of pressure, but Van Beukering and Gevers again made it 20-6 at the break.

 

Netherlands, led by scrum half Rixt Aerts controlled the second half with their greater fitness, Nicole Kennedy’s linking from the back proving unstoppable for the visitors.

 

Italy women’s head coach, Alberto Suin, said: “We expected a tough game and so it proved. We had a lot of new caps in the team and the difference between the sides was easy to see.”

 

ITALY 6

Alessandra Menotti, Rwan Hassnien, Loide Agosta, Camilla Giacomazzo, Lillian Bremang, Martina Dall’Antonia, Valentina Virgili, Giulia Iozzi, Camilla Vio, Vanessa Bertini, Silvis Gai, Altea Forto, Marvin Severgnini

Subs: Alissa Meinero, Alice Botiaro, Ilenia Bollini, Fabiola Tosetii

 

Try: Severgnini (12)Goal: Dall’Antonia 1/1

Sin Bin: Iozzi – (5 – hair pull), Tosetii (79 – late tackle)

NETHERLANDS 56

Nicole Kennedy, Hiermons Monischa, Lisa Berding, Paige Schouw, Hannah Van Beukering, Hiske Blom, Rixt Aerts, Sele Steenkist, Ver Van Der Zwan, Lorraine Voorbach, Linneke Gevers, Sylvie Moelee, Kaylee Geerlings

Subs: Claire Kennedy, Dominique Velema, Dana Burik, Stephanie Van Diepen

 

Tries: Gevers (6, 36, 64), Geerlings (9), Van Beukering (28), Berding (42), N. Kennedy (50, 60, 76), Blom (57), Van Diepen (80)

Goals: Berding 4/8, Schouw 0/1, Geerlings 1/1, Van Der Zwan 1/1

 

Half Time: 6-20

 

Referee: Nenad Zujic (Serbia)

 

POOL A – GAME 1 – WALES 28 IRELAND 10

 

Skipper Bethan Dainton ran in two tries and set a superb lead as Wales moved to within one game of qualifying for the 2026 Women’s World Cup, after defeating Ireland at Cardiff University Sports Park in front of a crowd of over 500.

 

They now face Netherlands away on 22 June in Pool A to claim a qualifying berth. Wales women head coach, Tom Brindle, noted: “It was a good, competitive game. We played reasonably well for 60 of the 80 minutes but we’re pleased with the result.

 

“Ireland lifted in the second half and started to slow us down at the play the ball and we got a little carried away with ourselves, we’ve got to work on that last twenty minutes.”

 

Wales, fielding three debutants, were excellent in the first forty, building an 18-4 lead at the break, Dainton the first to cross after the visitors lost the ball ten metres from their own line.

 

She nearly went over again on the next play but the visitors replied when Dublin City Exiles’ Grace Tutty went over from a kick to the corner after Mairead Quinn had been held up over the line.

 

Wales replied immediately, quick hands across the line seeing Georgia Taylor cross out wide and, in the lead up to half time, Brittony Price fed Kathryn Salter who rolled out of a tackle to plant the ball down and added her third conversion.

 

It was Leeds Rhinos loose forward Dainton who secured the win with her second score, breaking through the Irish line, racing clear and rounding Cliodhna O’Sullivan for a superb score between the posts, Salter again with the extras.

 

Late on the sides swapped tries, Caoimhe Molloy powering through the home defence to score near the sticks, Storm Cobain goaling and, from the restart Wales scrum half Rhi Parker sprinting down the touchline to go over in the corner.

 

Ireland will now take on Netherlands in Dublin in three weeks in what is effectively an elimination game.

 

“Wales were outstanding,” said new Ireland women’s head coach, Matt Kennerson. “Encouragingly we looked a different side in the second half and eased into the game a little, but it was a great experience for the girls – we look forward to the next game.”

 

WALES 28

Brittony Price, Georgia Taylor, Ashlea Prescott, Kathryn Salter, Lucia Davies, Shaunni Davies, Rhi Parker, Amy Price, Jasmine Gibbons, Sara Jones, Hannah Jones, Charlie Mundy, Bethan Dainton

Subs: Agnes Wood, Katie Carr, Ffion Jenkins, Kim Boaler

 

Tries: Dainton (10, 54), Taylor (22), Salter (33), Parker (79)

Goals: Salter 4/5

 

IRELAND 10

Cliodhna O’Sullivan, Bettie Lambert, Molly Young, Fran Copley, Grace Tutty, Holly O’Dwyer, Alex McGuinness, Mairead Quinn, Niamh Griffin, Rachel Morton, Storm Cobain, Tricia Doyle, Clodagh Dunne

Subs: Megan Preston, Caoimhe Molloy, Lydia Egan, Lisa Callan

 

Tries: Tutty (19), Molloy (78)

Goals: Cobain 1/2

 

Half time: 18-4

 

Referee: Sam Jenkinson (England)