Rudge To Captain England Women

Saints Emily Rudge is relishing the opportunity to lead England for the first time in Saturday's international against France in Carcassonne.

The forward admits she will be a newcomer to captaincy, at any level, but earned the opportunity with her non-stop performances in last year’s World Cup, which saw her named England’s best and fairest player.

“I was told a couple of weeks ago and to be honest I was a little bit surprised,” she said. “I’ve been involved in the set-up for quite a while and I’ve got a bit of experience, but I’ve never been in that role before.

“So yes, it’s a bit of a change, but it’s nice. I was made up to be asked, and I’m honoured.

“It should be a good tour. There’s quite a few younger players getting their first cap, so obviously this is exciting for them, and it’s a good opportunity for us to develop as a team looking forward to the 2021 World Cup.

“This France tour is obviously the focus at the minute, but it’s something the coaches and the playing staff are obviously building towards, to really challenge Australia and New Zealand.”

Those younger players include Georgia Roche, the Castleford starlet who was named the inaugural Woman of Steel shortly after her 18th birthday, and who was also included on the shortlist for the BBC’s Young Sports Personality of the Year.

She will be joined by Caitlin Beevers, the Leeds wing or full-back who turned 17 last month, and made history at Wembley in August when she refereed the traditional curtain-raiser before the Challenge Cup final, the Year 7 Boys Champion Schools Final, won by Wade Deacon of Widnes.

England had two wins in France last year, both in Perpignan, and warmed up for Saturday’s games with a training session against the recently-formed Catalans Dragons women’s team.

England Women Squad:

Amy Hardcastle (Bradford Bulls), Amy Johnson (Leeds Rhinos), Andrea Dobson (Featherstone Rovers), Caitlin Beevers (Leeds Rhinos), Danielle Anderson (Leeds Rhinos), Emily Rudge (St Helens), Faye Gaskin (St Helens), Georgia Roche (Castleford Tigers), Jodie Cunningham (St Helens), Kelsey Gentles (Castleford Tigers), Naomi Williams (St Helens), Becky Greenfield (Wigan Warriors), Rhiannion Marshall (Leeds Rhinos), Shona Hoyle (Bradford Bulls), Sinead Peach (Castleford Tigers), Tara Jones (St Helens), Tara-Jane Stanley (Castleford Tigers), Tamzin Renouf (Castleford Tigers), Vanessa Temple (Wigan Warriors), Vicky Whitfield (St Helens).

Coach: Craig Richards
Assistant Coach: Lindsay Anfield

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