Eight St Helens players included in England women's squad to tour Papua New Guinea

Jodie Cunningham. Picture: SWPix
Jodie Cunningham. Picture: SWPix

England Women will make history at the end of the season by undertaking a two-match tour of Papua New Guinea.

The selectors have named a 24-strong squad which features eight players from St Helens, including Emily Rudge and Jodie Cunningham, two of nine survivors from the 2017 World Cup.

England will play the first Test against the PNG Orchids at a Papuan Highlands venue on Saturday, November 9, and the second a week later in Port Moresby, which will be part of a double-header featuring Great Britain's Test against the Kumuls.

The tour, which is subject to contract confirmation, will follow the World Cup Nines in Sydney on October 18-19 in which England play PNG, Australia and New Zealand.

Kevin Sinfield, the Rugby Football League's rugby director, said: "This is a really significant tour, for the England Performance Unit and the England Women, but also for Women's Rugby League and International Rugby League.

"Just as we were delighted to expose our England Knights players to the unique experiences and challenges of a trip to Papua New Guinea last year as part of the preparation for the men's World Cup in 2021, this tour presents our women with a completely new challenge that can only help in their lead-in to RLWC2021.

"The fact that it follows competing against PNG, Australia and New Zealand in the World Cup Nines means it's a really busy and demanding schedule for the players.

"The double header at Port Moresby should be a fantastic occasion. It's exciting for Great Britain to be playing a first Test in PNG since 1996 and great that England Women will also be making history."

Squad: D Anderson, C Beevers, C Booth, S Lacey, A Johnson (all (Leeds), L Burke, C Crowl , J Cunningham , F Gaskin, E Rudge, T Jones, V Whitfield, N Williams (all St Helens), G Field, K Gentles, S Hoyle, S Peach, T Renouf, G Roach, T-J Stanley (all Castleford) , R Greenfield, R Thompson, G Wilson (all Wigan), A Hardcastle (Bradford).