18 Jun 2024

Wales eye historic women's World Cup berth

Wales coach Tom Brindle has named a 19-player squad to face the Netherlands in Purmerend on Saturday (kick-off 4pm), as they look to make history and qualify for a first-ever women's Rugby League World Cup.

With Wales taking on the Netherlands and France playing Serbia in the final round of European RLWC2026 qualifying matches, the next two nations to join Australia, England, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea will be known on the weekend.

Wales and France are favourites after respective first round wins over Ireland and Greece, and can secure their places for the 2026 World Cup in the Southern Hemisphere with another victory.   

Bethan Dainton leads the Wales side after her player of the match contribution against Ireland in April put Wales one win away from qualifying.

Cardiff Demons trio Leanne Burnell, Lauren Aitken and Seren Gough-Walters return after missing the Ireland clash.

Each of the trio played in the first-ever match in 2019, as did Kathryn Salter, who is set to be the only player to have turned out in all 11 of Wales’ capped fixtures to date if selected for the Netherlands clash.

Gracie Hobbs of Huddersfield Giants and Cardiff's Megan Whittaker are the only two uncapped players in the travelling party.

After Ireland’s narrow 14-12 victory over Netherlands last month in the other game in group A, only a win by 12 points or more would guarantee the Dutch hosts qualification for RLWC2026, denying Wales an automatic place in the process.

Despite their success against the Netherlands, the size of defeat to Wales in Cardiff means Ireland are unable to qualify in top spot.

The team finishing second in Group A will face the runners up in DGoup B to decide which nation will go forward to the 2025 World Series, and another opportunity to qualify for the World Cup.

Wales would need to suffer a 33-point defeat to miss out on second place.

The match will take place at Rugby Club Waterland, Purmerend. 

Wales Squad: Lauren Aitken, Leanne Burnell, Katie Carr, Shaunni Davies, Jasmine Gibbons, Seren Gough-Walters, Ffion Jenkins, Hannah Jones, Sara Jones, Rhi Parker, Amy Price, Brittony Price, Megan Whittaker* (all Cardiff Demons), Bethan Dainton (Leeds Rhinos, captain), Ashlea Prescott (Featherstone Rovers), Gracie Hobbs*(Huddersfield Giants), Kathryn Salter (London Broncos), Agnes Wood (Sheffield Eagles), Georgia Taylor (York Valkyrie).