England Women: Leeds Rhinos’ Keara Bennett earns chance as Craig Richards names performance squad

England Women: Leeds Rhinos’ Keara Bennett earns chance as Craig Richards names performance squad

Rhinos hooker Bennett is among the 31 players named in the England Women’s Performance Squad for 2022; reigning Women’s Super League champions St Helens make up the bulk of the squad with 12 players named

Last Updated: 12/01/22 11:23am


Leeds’ Keara Bennett is a new call-up to the England Women National Performance Squad

Keara Bennett is a new face in the England Women’s National Performance Squad after head coach Craig Richards named a 31-strong team for the 2022 season.

The hooker helped Leeds Rhinos reach the Betfred Women’s Super League Grand Final in 2021 and put in a string of impressive performances throughout the campaign.

St Helens trio Beth Stott, Paige Travis and Rachael Woosey, and recent York City Knights signing Holly Dodd are all retained after making their international debuts last year as preparations continue for the rescheduled 2021 Rugby League World Cup later this year.

“I’m really pleased to have named our first National Performance Squad in a World Cup year,” Richards said.

“It’s great to have been able to add Keara Bennett to the squad after she consistently performed for Leeds throughout 2021.

“We had several international debutants last season and there are certainly going to be opportunities for players to break into the side before the World Cup.”

Reigning Women’s Super League champions and Challenge Cup holders St Helens make up the bulk of the squad with 12 players included. Among those are 2021 Woman of Steel Jodie Cunningham and England captain Emily Rudge.

We had several international debutants last season and there are certainly going to be opportunities for players to break into the side before the World Cup.

England Women head coach Craig Richards

Bennett, meanwhile, is one of eight Rhinos players called up. Challenge Cup runners-up York have six players included, with four representing Wigan Warriors.

Experienced England international Shona Hoyle is included, too, after helping Huddersfield Giants win the BWSL Shield last year – and promotion to Group 1 of the competition for 2022.

The team will meet up this weekend for a training camp in Leeds and plans are in place to arrange a mid-season international for England as part of preparations for the World Cup. The women’s tournament kicks off on November 1 and will see Richards’ side face Brazil, Canada and Papua New Guinea in the group stage.

“The majority of the players included have been in or around the programme for some time now and I feel we have some real quality amongst the squad,” Richards said.

“We’ve been building towards this World Cup for a number of years now, but we know how crucial our preparations over the next nine months are going to be.”

England Women national performance squad: Leah Burke, Chantelle Crowl, Jodie Cunningham, Amy Hardcastle, Tara Jones, Carrie Roberts, Emily Rudge, Beth Stott, Paige Travis, Vicky Whitfield, Naomi Williams, Rachael Woosey (all St Helens), Dannielle Anderson, Caitlin Beevers, Keara Bennett Fran Goldthorp, Amy Johnson, Chloe Kerrigan, Emma Lumley, Georgia Roche (all Leeds Rhinos), Savannah Andrade, Hollie Dodd, Grace Field, Kelsey Gentles, Tara Stanley, Olivia Wood (all York City Knights), Rebecca Greenfield, Vicky Molyneux, Rachel Thompson, Georgia Wilson (all Wigan Warriors), Shona Hoyle (Huddersfield Giants).

scroll to top