New England Women’s head coach, Craig Richards, has admitted that all the focus is on the 2021 World Cup as the team prepares to take on France this Saturday; their first game in almost 12 months.
Ten uncapped players have been selected for the 20-player squad, including the likes of 18-year-old Woman of Steel Georgia Roche and 16-year-old Leeds Rhinos star Caitlin Beevers.
Richards said: “Everything we do is building towards the 2021 World Cup. We named ten debutants and the key thing about that was picking the players who really shone in the Origin games and in the Super League. We picked on form but we also recognise that we don’t build a squad or a team overnight.”
Grand Final winners Wigan Warriors only have two players representing them in the squad with Rebecca Greenfield and Vanessa Temple set to potentially make their international debuts.
England have been victorious in their last two games against the French winning 26-16 and 14-8, on both occasions away from home.
Speaking about their opposition, Richards has admitted that all the focus has been on his own side.
He said: “We’ve not focused a lot on France. We’re trying to build something within the England performance unit and particularly the women’s team and it’s got to be about us coming together, us producing a performance that we’re happy with.
“I think just as the World Cup, we’re going to have to be reactive to what the French have got. Just like you would do in a World Cup game, you have to be reactive to the changes.”
There have been a number of changes in the squad with only eight players remaining from the 2017 World Cup. These include the likes of Faye Gaskin, Jodie Cunningham, Andrea Dobson and Tara Stanley.
Amy Hardcastle (Bradford Bulls) Caps: 16
Amy Johnson (Leeds Rhinos) Caps: 0
Andrea Dobson (Featherstone Rovers) Caps: 23
Caitlin Beevers (Leeds Rhinos) Caps: 0
Dannielle Anderson (Leeds Rhinos) Caps: 0
Emily Rudge (St Helens) Caps: 19
Faye Gaskin (St Helens) Caps: 6
Georgia Roche (Castleford Tigers) Caps: 0
Jodie Cunningham (St Helens) Caps: 18
Kelsey Gentles (Castleford Tigers) Caps: 0
Naomi Williams (St Helens) Caps: 0
Rebecca Greenfield (Wigan Warriors) Caps: 0
Rhiannion Marshall (Leeds Rhinos) Caps: 1
Shona Hoyle (Bradford Bulls) Caps: 6
Sinead Peach (Castleford Tigers) Caps: 2
Tara Jones (St Helens) Caps: 3
Tara-Jane Stanley (Castleford Tigers) Caps: 8
Tamzin Renouf (Castleford Tigers) Caps: 0
Vanessa Temple (Wigan Warriors) Caps: 0
Vicky Whitfield (St Helens) Caps: 0