Rugby League: eight St Helens players named in 20-strong England women’s squad

The women’s England team will face Wales and France in consecutive weekends.

<p>St Helens captain Jodie Cunningham and team-mates celebrate with the Betfred Women's Challenge Cup trophy. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.</p>

St Helens captain Jodie Cunningham and team-mates celebrate with the Betfred Women's Challenge Cup trophy. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.

No fewer than eight St Helens players are included in a 20-strong England women’s squad named by head coach Craig Richards ahead of Sunday’s match against Wales.

The Test at Cross Keys RFC, Newport will be the first of two in consecutive weekends as the team step up their preparations for this autumn’s World Cup.

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Sunday’s game will be shown live on The Sportsman and will be followed by a home match against France at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium on Saturday, June 18.

The latter game will be part of a double header which will also feature England men versus the Combined Nations All Stars, with both games live on Sky Sports.

Richards said: “There is a real competition for places among the squad now and players need to be performing consistently to wear the England shirt.

“The upcoming mid-season internationals against Wales and France will allow us to see where we are at as a squad and are pivotal in our continued preparations to the Rugby League World Cup later this year.”

The Saints’ contingent are: Lea Burke, Jodie Cunningham, Amy Hardcastle, Zoe Harris, Shona Hoyle, Emily Rudge, Page Travis and Vicky Whitfield,