Barrow leads praise for Rudge’s contribution as England captain

Following her announcement on Instagram a few weeks ago, England have now confirmed Emily Rudge will not continue as captain...

England Rugby League can confirm Emily Rudge will step down as captain of the Women’s team ahead of next month’s Mid-Season International against France at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Rudge – who leads England Women’s all-time appearance ranks with 30 – took the reins as captain prior to the 2019 tour of Papua New Guinea, in which she would go on to score four tries from the second-row in a defeat of the Orchids in Goroka.

The St Helens forward also captained her country against Wales and France on two occasions apiece before last year’s Rugby League World Cup on home soil which culminated in a Semi-Final defeat to New Zealand at York’s LNER Community Stadium.

Stuart Barrow, who was appointed Head Coach of England Women earlier this year, said: “Emily led her country brilliantly over the last five years and we are immensely grateful for her efforts in an England shirt as captain.”

“Emily had the difficult task of guiding the side through the postponement of a major tournament which she did admirably before leading England out in that memorable opening game of the Rugby League World Cup at Headingley Stadium.”

“As we enter a new cycle with the 2025 tournament coming into view, we felt it was the right time to go in a new direction with the England Women captaincy – but Emily will remain a key voice within the wider leadership team.”

Emily Rudge added: “It has been the biggest honour of my career to captain my country, especially the unique experience of the 2019 tour of Papua New Guinea and last year’s home World Cup.”

“I will never forget the atmosphere at Headingley as I led the side out for that opening fixture against Brazil – it was made extra special by seeing so many young girls in attendance and knowing we were inspiring them.”

“I am looking forward to remaining part of the squad and continuing to help guide the next generation of talented England players.”

Rudge has been included in a 25-strong National Performance Squad, who will gather for a squad session this Saturday as they continue preparations for the Mid-Season International against France on Saturday April 29 – which will be shown live on Sky Sports as the first part of a double header also including a Men’s international against the same opposition.

Georgia Wilson, who was named in that squad after scoring a try against Canada in the World Cup, will not be in contention for the France match after leaving Wigan Warriors for a playing opportunity in Queensland.

England Women National Performance Squad 

Dannielle Anderson (Leeds Rhinos)

Savannah Andrade (York Valkyrie)

Caitlin Beevers (Leeds Rhinos)

Keara Bennett (Leeds Rhinos)

Chloe Billington (Featherstone Rovers)

Leah Burke (St Helens)

Jodie Cunningham (St Helens)

Hollie-Mae Dodd (York Valkyrie)

Grace Field (York Valkyrie)

Fran Goldthorp (Leeds Rhinos)

Amy Hardcastle (Leeds Rhinos)

Zoe Harris (St Helens)

Zoe Hornby (Leeds Rhinos)

Shona Hoyle (St Helens)

Tara Jones (St Helens)

Eboni Partington (St Helens)

Sinead Peach (York Valkyrie)

Emily Rudge (St Helens)

Tamzin Renouf (York Valkyrie)

Georgia Roche (Leeds Rhinos)

Tara Stanley (York Valkyrie)

Paige Travis (St Helens)

Vicky Whitfield (St Helens)

Olivia Wood (York Valkyrie)

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