21 Jun 2024

A place in the 2026 Women’s Rugby League World Cup in the southern hemisphere is at stake when Netherlands Dames take on Wales at RC Waterlands, Purmerend tomorrow (Saturday), kick off 4pm local time.

Both nations are looking for a first qualification for the global tournament and the hosts must win the game by 12 points to finish top of group B and go through automatically. Victory by a lesser margin would secure second place and set up a qualifying play off with the runners-up of group A for the right to appear in the 2025 World Series repechage. 

Defeat would see them eliminated at the expense of Ireland, while for Wales a win of any margin will see them qualify for their first World Cup owing to their superior points difference and would see Ireland confirmed as second place finishers.

Netherlands will be hoping to build on their impressive performance in Dublin last month which they narrowly lost to Ireland with only two missed conversions being the difference. Kim Dekker is new to the squad and in line for a potential debut, but they are without Paige Schouw who has returned to Australia for study.

Netherlands women’s head coach, Matt Rigby, commented: “It’s a really exciting occasion for us to be playing our first ever home match with so much at stake. Playing at home is something we’ve all been looking forward to and we will relish the occasion. Wales will be rightfully the favourites for this, but the underdog tag is the one we prefer. We will be looking to give a good account of ourselves and be competitive.”

Leeds Rhino Bethan Dainton is named Wales captain after her impressive performance against Ireland in April. Cardiff Demons trio Leanne Burnell, Lauren Aitken and Seren Gough-Walters all return after missing the Ireland clash, with Kathryn Salter also hoping to continue her appearances for Wales having played in every senior international since the formation of the women’s team. Gracie Hobbs of Huddersfield Giants and Cardiff's Megan Whittaker are the only uncapped players in the travelling party.

“Saturday represents the opportunity for this group of players to achieve a major milestone, one that we’ve been working towards for the last three years,” said Wales women’s head coach Tom Brindle. “We know Netherlands are going to be a strong team, and the work they’ve put in and the performances to date have been very impressive. We know we need to perform to the best of our ability to compete.” 

France’s Geoffrey Poumes will take charge of the match as part of a team of neutral referees appointed to the tournament.

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Kim Dekker (Castricumse RC), Carola Terlouw (Delft RC), Stephanie van Diepen (Harderwijk Dolphins), Dominique Velema, Hannah van Beukering, Lisa Berding (HRC Xtreme), Nicole Kennedy (London Broncos), Lorraine Voorbach (RC DIOK), Linneke Gevers (RC Octopus), Iris Hansman (RC The Big Stones), Arjanne van de Kieft (RC Wageningen), Vera van der Zwan (RC Zwolle), Hiske Blom, Kaylee Geerlings, Monischa Hieroms, Rixt Aerts, Sela Steenkist, Sylvie Moelee (The Blue Babes), Claire Kennedy (Wests Tigers).


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).