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England Women: Leeds Rhinos’ Keara Bennett gets a chance as Craig Richards names performance team | Rugby League News


Rhinos hooker Bennett is one of 31 players named to England’s women’s performance squad for 2022; Defending Women’s Super League champion St Helens makes up the bulk of the squad with 12 named players

Last update: 01/12/22 11:23 a.m.

Leeds’s Keara Bennett is a new call-up for the England Women’s National Performance Team

Keara Bennett is a new face in the England Women’s National Performance Team after head coach Craig Richards named a 31-person squad for the 2022 season.

The hooker helped Leeds Rhinos reach the Betfred Women’s Super League grand final in 2021 and put in a series of impressive performances throughout the campaign.

St Helens’ trio Beth Stott, Paige Travis and Rachael Woosey, and recent York City Knights signing Holly Dodd are all on the list after making their international debut last year as preparations continue for the Rugby World Cup 2021 rescheduled later this year.

“I’m really happy to have named our first national performance team in a World Cup year,” said Richards.

“It’s great to have been able to add Keara Bennett to the squad after regularly playing for Leeds throughout 2021.

“We had several international debutants last season and there will certainly be opportunities for players to break into the squad ahead of the World Cup.”

St Helens, defending Women’s Super League champion and Challenge Cup holder, make up the bulk of the squad with 12 players included. These include 2021 Woman of Steel Jodie Cunningham and England captain Emily Rudge.

England Women: Leeds Rhinos' Keara Bennett gets a chance as Craig Richards names performance team | Rugby League News

We had several international debutants last season and there will certainly be opportunities for players to break into the squad ahead of the World Cup.

England Women’s Head Coach Craig Richards

Bennett, meanwhile, is one of the Rhinos’ eight players called up. York, a Challenge Cup finalist, has six players, four of whom represent the Wigan Warriors.

Seasoned England international Shona Hoyle is also included, having helped the Huddersfield Giants win the BWSL Shield last year – and promotion to Group 1 of the competition for 2022.

The team will meet this weekend for a training camp in Leeds and plans are in place to host a mid-season international match for England as part of the preparations for the World Cup. The women’s tournament kicks off on November 1 and sees Richards’ side face Brazil, Canada and Papua New Guinea in the group stage.

“The majority of the players included have been in or around the program for a while now and I think we have real quality within the squad,” said Richards.

“We’ve been preparing for this World Cup for several years now, but we know how crucial our preparations over the next nine months will be.”

England Women’s National Performance Team: Leah Burke, Chantelle Crowl, Jodie Cunningham, Amy Hardcastle, Tara Jones, Carrie Roberts, Emily Rudge, Beth Stott, Paige Travis, Vicky Whitfield, Naomi Williams, Rachael Woosey (all in St Helens), Dannielle Anderson, Caitlin Beevers, Keara Bennett Fran Goldthorp, Amy Johnson, Chloe Kerrigan, Emma Lumley, Georgia Roche (all from Leeds Rhinos), Savannah Andrade, Hollie Dodd, Grace Field, Kelsey Gentles, Tara Stanley, Olivia Wood (all from York City Knights), Rebecca Greenfield, Vicky Molyneux, Rachel Thompson, Georgia Wilson (all Wigan Warriors), Shona Hoyle (Huddersfield Giants).




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