17 May 2024

Ireland, Netherlands name squads for historic RLWC Qualifier

The second Group A game in the Women’s 2026 Rugby League World Cup European qualifiers takes place on Sunday, 19 May, when Ireland host Netherlands at Donnybrook Stadium in Dublin (kick off 3pm local time).

A win for the Netherlands, who are in great form after demolishing Italy 56-6 in Treviso in the preliminary game to join the group, will see Ireland bow out of the competition, with the group leader and runner up being determined at next month’s game between Netherlands and Wales.

Victory for Ireland, however, will keep their qualifying dream alive after last month’s 28-10 loss to Wales in Cardiff, but it will then be a nervous wait for the outcome of the final match which could then see any of the three nations eliminated.

Ireland will likely hand debuts to Aine Rutley and Alice Fitzgerald of local side Dublin City Exiles, taking the club's overall representation to ten players.

Ireland women’s head coach, Matt Kennerson, commented: “We are taking each challenge in our stride, united as a team. Our preparation has been thorough, and I have confidence in our squad to exhibit the strength and unity we've cultivated. The privilege of playing at home further ignites our determination and passion. We are ready to make a powerful statement and represent Ireland and our fans with pride.”

Netherlands could have three debutants in their side with Iris Hansman, Arjanne van de Kieft and Jessica Kennedy named in their 19-player squad.

“We're excited to be heading to Dublin for the first ever encounter between the nations,” said Netherlands women’s co-head coach Matt Rigby.

“We're aware of the threat Ireland pose and their rugby pedigree. There is no doubt this will be our biggest challenge to date, but we remain confident that our Dames will compete. It's been a quick turnaround from Italy and our girls have been fantastic in training and are looking forward to the big occasion in Dublin.”

Netherlands 2024 - Nicole KennedyPhoto: Netherlands fullback Nicole Kennedy reaches out to score against Italy

Frenchman Fabien Nicaud will take charge as part of a cohort of neutrally appointed referees for each fixture in the series.


Rachel Morton (Banbridge Broncos),  Aine Rutley, Alex McGuinness, Alice Fitzgerald, Anna Potterton, Caoimhe Molloy, Cliodhna O'Sullivan, Clodagh Dunne, Lisa Callan, Niamh Griffin, Tricia Doyle (Dublin City Exiles), Fran Copley (Featherstone Rovers), Holly O'Dwyer, Stacey Hanley (Galway Tribeswomen), Megan Preston (Huddersfield Giants ), Mollie Young, Mairead Quinn, Storm Cobain  (Leigh Leopards), Bettie Lambert (York Valkyrie).


Paige Schouw (Brisbane Tigers), Stephanie van Diepen (Harderwijk Dolphins), Dominique Velema, Hannah van Beukering, Lisa Berding (HRC Xtreme), Nicole Kennedy (London Broncos), Lorraine Voorbach (RC DIOK), Linneke Gevers (RC Octopus), Iris Hansman (RC The Big Stones), Dana Burik (RC The Hookers), Arjanne van de Kieft (RC Wageningen), Vera van der Zwan (RC Zwolle), Hiske Blom, Monischa Hieroms, Rixt Aerts, Sela Steenkist, Sylvie Moelee (The Blue Babes), Claire Kennedy, Jessica Kennedy (Wests Tigers).