Brazil’s Amazonas make their northern hemisphere rugby league debut tonight (Thursday) when they take on France at Featherstone, (kick off 7.30pm, local time) in a World Cup warm up game. The South Americans arrived yesterday and are keen to put their squad work into practice.
“There is a diverse mix of sporting backgrounds among the group including jiu-jitsu and judo champions, previous Olympians, basketball players, dancers and football players who have made the switch to the 13-a-side game,“ noted Brazil team manager, Robert Burgin. “As Brazil and France won’t meet in the group stages of the World Cup, we are viewing it as a historic fixture to launch our campaign from.”
Former Nottingham Outlaws player Ana Loschi will line up for Brazil. Born in the country, she studied electrical engineering at Loughborough University in 2015-16 before returning to her home nation, playing a handful of games for Nottingham along the way. Known as ‘Boi’ (the Brazilian word for Ox), Loschi is the only member of the squad to have experience playing rugby league overseas.
Nine members of the side are from the Melina club, the only professional rugby league team in the whole of South America, founded by Frenchman Michel Leplus.
France women’s head coach, Vincent Baloup said: “For a year and a half we have been advancing step by step. We are a small team with few resources. However, trust, ambition, sharing and hard work are values that the girls mobilised at each gathering, and which will help them to rise in further.
“Our game plan is simple and clear, the players have integrated it. It is now a question of advancing in its mastery, of knowing how to challenge the opposition and force initiatives. The match in Featherstone will be invaluable for our team, to build up a positive atmosphere.”
Beforehand, Featherstone Rovers women will host an opposed training session against the PNG Orchids at 5.30pm.
Also today, England Knights face Cook Islands at Weetwood, Leeds (kick off 2pm). The Kukis women include Elianna Walton, a former Jillaroo and Samoan international as their captain, along with three Queensland State of Origin players, two from the NRLW.
Adriana Felix (Vitoria Rhinos), Tati Fernandes (Vitoria Rhinos), Leticia Medeiros (Melina), Daniele Soares (Maringa Hawks), Suzana Rodrigues (Vitoria Rhinos), Giovanna Moura (Maringa Hawks), Maria Graf (Urutau), Franciny Amaral (Melina), Patricia Bodeman (Melina), Paula Casemiro (Vitoria Rhinos), Patricia Oliveira (Melina), Amanda Welter (Maringa Hawks), Bárbara Leal (Vitoria Rhinos), Giovanna Barth (Maringa Hawks), Franciele Barros (Melina), Brena Prioste (Urutau), Ana Loschi (Vitoria Rhinos), Natalia Momberg (Vitoria Rhinos), Byanca Santa Rita (Melina), Pâmella Silva (Melina), Ellen Trindade (Melina), Edna Santini (Vitoria Rhinos), Natalia Jonck (Melina)
Elisa Akpa (St Esteve 13 Catalan), Cristina Song-Puche (St Esteve 13 Catalan), Mélanie Bianchini (St Esteve 13 Catalan), Lauréane Biville (Lescure Arthes 13), Manon Samarra (Lescure Arthes 13), Elisa Ciria (Lescure Arthes 13), Alice Varela (Toulouse Ovalie), Jeanne Bernard (Lescure Arthes 13), Cyndia Mansard (Toulouse Ovalie), Gaelle Alvernhe (Lescure Arthes 13), Tallis Kuresa (Begles Bordeaux RL), Perinne Monsarrat (Lescure Arthes 13), Leila Bessahli (St Esteve 13 Catalan), Fanny Ramos (St Esteve 13 Catalan), Cloé Guillerot (Lescure Arthes 13), Elodie Pacull (St Esteve 13 Catalan), Mailys Borak (St Esteve 13 Catana) Anaëlle Meunier (Begles Bordeaux RL), Zoé Pastre-Courtine (St Esteve 13 Catalan) Anais Fourcroy (St Esteve 13 Catalan) Dorine Samarra (Lescure Arthes 13), Louisa Tooman (Lescure Arthes 13), Margot Canal (St Esteve 13 Catalan), Lise Michel (Ayguesvives 13)
ENGLAND KINGHTS SQUAD
Chloe Billington (Featherstone Rovers), Amelia Brown, Erin Stott, Isabelle Sykes, Rebekah Grady (Huddersfield Giants), Jasmine Cudjoe (Leeds Rhinos), Danielle Bush, Chantelle Crowl, Eboni Partington, Katie Mottershead (St Helens), Emily Baggaley (Warrington Wolves), Anna Davies, Kaitlin Hilton, Mary Coleman, Rebecca Greenfield (Wigan Warriors), Emma Kershaw, Jasmine Bell, Lacey Owen, Savannah Andrade, Sinead Peach, Tamzin Renouf (York RLFC Valkyries)
COOK ISLANDS SQUAD
Daimzel Rongokea* (Arorangi Bears), Tetuanui Dean* (Campbelltown Collegians RL) April Ngatupuna* (Gold Coast Titans), Anneka Stephens* (Joondalup Giants RL & Alkimos Tigers JRLC), Beniamina Koiatu (Manukau Magpies RL), Kerehitina Matua*, Terehia Matua*, Mackenzie Wiki* (Manurewa Marlins RL), Elianna Walton (C), Karol-Ann Tanevesi (Mounties RL), Erikana Dean*, Mireka Dean* (Oakey RLFC), Chantay Kiria-Ratu*, Lavinia Kitai* (Queensland Women U19), Alekermay Tuaana* (South Magpies Rugby Union), Monica Mo’ale* (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Tehinnah-Lael Tatuava* (Titikaveka Bulldogs), Charlize-Gazelle Tumu-Makara* (Tupapa Panthers/Richmond Rovers), Maleyna Hunapo* (Truganina Rabbitohs RL), Toka Natua (Waikato Rugby Union), Jazmon Tupou-Witchman*, Kennedy Harrison-Vahua* (Wynnum Manly Seagulls)