Bethan Dainton has been named the new captain of Wales ahead of the upcoming international matches against France and England.
The 35-year-old from Hengoed made her Wales RL debut in 2022 against England, becoming the fourth woman to be a dual-code international, having won eight caps for Wales in rugby union between 2016 and 2021. Dainton also played for the Barbarians in her time in the 15-a-side game.
A serving soldier in the British Army, Dainton’s first experience of rugby league came when she played for The Army in 2021. She signed for Leeds Rhinos in 2023 and was part of the team who made it to the Super League Grand Final, and the Challenge Cup final at Wembley.
She has rugby union experience with Newport Gwent Dragons, Bristol Bears, Harlequins, and the UK Armed Forces, plus has a background in athletics, having represented Cwmbran Harriers and Wales on the track and at cross country.
Dainton will lead her country out for the first time in Carcassonne on Sunday 29 October as Wales face France, ahead of returning to AMT Headingley – home of Leeds Rhinos – for the match against England on Saturday 4 November, that will be broadcast live across the BBC.
“Pulling on the red jersey is pretty special, but to captain my country, be the one to lead out the team and sing our national anthem will be the pinnacle of my career and the greatest honour,” said Dainton.
“I am grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to the challenge but for me, nothing really changes. I like to drive standards on and off the pitch and pride myself on leading from the front whilst also enjoying the process and not taking myself too seriously. I truly believe in creating a positive environment to allow others to grow and express themselves.
“I’m really looking forward to getting some international rugby league under our belts as we’ve not had a fixture since October last year. We know both France and England will be tough encounters and we’re definitely up for the challenge. We always talk about how we want to compete and not participate so this will be a great opportunity to play the best teams and see where we are at as a squad heading into the Rugby League World Cup qualifying campaign, which is ultimately our main goal.”
Wales head coach, Tom Brindle added: “Bethan is a leader on the field and off the field. She has played at the highest level consistently and played high-pressure games.
“She always rises to the occasion and delivers on the world’s biggest stages, and will continue to be a great influence on our team as we set to take on two powerhouses of rugby league.”