Wales face Netherlands with World Cup place at stake

Bethan Dainton will captain Wales away to the Netherlands in Purmerend for Saturday's crucial 2026 Women's Rugby League World Cup qualifier (kick-off 15:00 BST).

Victory at Rugby Club Waterland will see Wales top Group A of the European qualifiers and earn a place at a World Cup for the first time in their history.

Wales are in a strong position after beating Ireland 28-10 in their opening game of the three-team group.

Ireland have already played both their games, beating the Netherlands 16-12. That result means the Netherlands must beat Wales by 12 points or more to replace Tom Brindle's side at the top of the group and claim an automatic place.

Brindle has named a 19-player squad with Cardiff Demons trio Leanne Burnell, Lauren Aitken and Seren Gough-Walters all returning after missing the Ireland clash.

If selected for the match-day squad, Kathryn Salter is in line to become the only player to have turned out in all 11 of Wales’ capped fixtures to date.

Gracie Hobbs of Huddersfield Giants and Cardiff's Megan Whittaker are the only two uncapped players in the travelling party.

The team finishing second in the group will face the runners up in Group B - which contains France, Greece and Serbia - to decide who will go forward to the 2025 World Series, and another opportunity to qualify for the World Cup.

Wales would need to suffer a 33-point defeat on Saturday to miss out on second place.

The 2026 tournament will see eight teams contest the trophy, with four Pacific nations, three from Europe plus the winners of the inaugural IRL World Series which takes place in 2025.

Defending champions Australia, New Zealand, England and Papua New Guinea have already qualified as semi-finalists at the last World Cup in England, held in 2023.

Wales squad: 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).