Craig Richards is optimistic England Women will be able to take to the field ahead of this year’s Rugby League World Cup after returning to training over the weekend. Nearly all international rugby league has been put on hold since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, with England’s women having not played since their two-match tour to Papua New Guinea in November 2019.
“We got a lot out of that tour,” Richards said. “We got to try players in different positions, try new players and play around thinking we were going to have another game the following season. Obviously that has not come to fruition, but we are hopeful we’ll have a mid-season Test match. We don’t know who that will be against, but it’s imperative we don’t go two years without playing as England and starting to look at what would not be a million miles of the starting line-up.”
“Are we behind the eight-ball? A little bit, but it just adds to the challenge for me. We can’t worry and focus on what others are doing, we’re trying to be really tunnel-visioned, and just think about ourselves and prepare ourselves for the best we can do.” he added.
“We’ve got a really intense seven-week block at the moment where we’re putting the girls under pressure and trying to match the intensity that we know through data we’re going to need to operate at for the World Cup,” he continued. “We’ll then ease things off as the season starts, but then that gives me an opportunity to look at any new additions to Super League and some of the form players. The one thing we do need is a really tough Super League, and hopefully we get a non-disrupted one as well which will build nicely into the World Cup. From my point of view, it’s fingers crossed we start the season all guns blazing.”