WRL launch women's team in time for next year's world cup
Gary Baker on 21/09/2012
Commonwealth Games medallist Carys Parry (Photo courtesy Gary Mitchell) put away her spikes and slipped on a pair of boots last weekend as Wales Rugby League launched a new women's team aiming for glory at next year's World Cup.
Parry, 27, won silver in the women's hammer at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealths and is the Welsh record holder.
But, during the winter, she will be making rugby league part of her training schedule once a month with the players preparing to tackle the best on the globe at the 2013 World Cup.
A group of 18 women, including Welsh rugby union players and another Delhi Commonwealth Games ace, wrestler Sarah Connolly, took part in the first training session at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, last month.
And, said Parry, it is a sport she would like to take up seriously but only after her athletics career, which should see her compete again for Wales at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games is over.
The Church Village star said: "I have not played rugby for a long time since I was in university (Loughborough).
"Since then, my athletics has taken over but it was great to see so many girls down there having a go and the standard, I thought, was pretty good.
"But, when I pack athletics in, it is something I would want to think hard about doing. I would like to train with the girls once a month and is definitely good to put in my winter training programme.
"It's actually nice to be part of a team because athletics can be a lonely sport."
Another Delhi Commonwealth Games wrestler, 87-times capped Welsh rugby union legend Non Evans, has added her voice to the drive towards the women's rugby league team for the World Cup.
Utility back Evans, who played for Wales in the 2010 Women's Rugby Union World Cup, said: "Years ago, I had the opportunity to play rugby league and I had to go up to Manchester to play.
"I wish I was ten years younger because it's a brilliant sport as you get the ball whenever you want. I played a lot of touch rugby and rugby league is the same but with the physicality of tackles.
"Maybe some girls have a worry that they don't have experience in it but it's an easy game to pick up and, because there are 13 players on the field instead of 15 as in union, there is space all over.
"I'm just delighted that they (Wales Rugby League) are putting a women's team together and pushing towards the World Cup next year."
The first session, under the guidance of Wales Rugby League development officer Lee Cullen, was a resounding success and now the aim is to find a squad of players who can be moulded into a unit to compete for their nation next July.
Training takes place once a month at venues in South East Wales, with further sessions taking place in Deeside, North Wales, before a trial match around Christmas and squad selection in the new year.
Any sportswomen from any sport can contact the Wales Rugby League and try out for the squad. Just e-mail Lee Cullen at email@example.com for an application form.
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