13th September 2019, 15:44
Wales Rugby League name women's national side inaugural coaching staff
Wales Rugby League have named the Bradford Bulls Women U19’s head coach Craig Taylor as their first ever women’s national side head coach.
He joins John Kear on the coaching staff of both organisations - he being both the head coach of the Bradford Bulls men’s first team and the Wales Rugby League men’s national side.
Taylor (pictured above with WRL board member Gareth Kear), who turns 44 on Monday will, like Kear, perform his WRL role in addition to his other club duties.
An experienced women’s and girls’ rugby league coach, Taylor has coached the Yorkshire county side four times in the past six years in the annual representative matches, whilst in 2015, he was responsible for organising and coaching the first ever girls side to tour Australia.
This led to him being invited back down under a year later where he was part of the coaching staff of a NRL accredited Australian girls team to tour New Zealand in 2016.
Later in 2015, Taylor went to Pakistan to assist with women and girls development rugby league sessions on behalf of the British Asian Rugby Association. Craig has also been head coach of the Kirklees College rugby academy in the past.
Most recently, in addition to his Bradford Bulls role, he was appointed girls U14s Yorkshire West talent hub head coach.
Taylor said: “What’s excites me most about this position is to be involved with the international programme right from the start, helping shape the way forward for female game in Wales.
“In the first instance, I want to help develop a competitive and sustainable international team. As I settle into the role, I want to support WRL in developing more women’s club sides and increasing the number of registered players to develop the talent pool of players to select form going forward.
“My aim in the future is to help to develop of a girls youth programme, featuring those aged 15-16, to complement the women’s game. I know this will take time and effort to achieve, but I’m really excited about the task ahead.
“But right now, I’m really looking forward to getting started, getting into training and having a few fixtures under our belts. We’ll look at how we compete and build from there.”
The Wales side's first ever assistant coach will be James Allen and the team manager will be Louise Morgan.
Allen has proved himself to be one of the best young coaches in Wales. A domestic player with both Valley Cougars and Rhondda Outlaws in his career, the 38-year old also represented Wales Dragonhearts five times between 2008 and 2011. The current head coach of the 2019 WRL Premier League champions Rhondda Outlaws, he has taken charge of both their men’s and women’s sides. He was also jointly responsible for recently setting up the East Wales Women’s side.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to being involved in the new Wales Women’s international side.
“Being the first assistant coach of this side is an honour and I just want to help carry on with the progress that we’ve already made with women’s rugby league in Wales.”
Morgan has been heavily involved in women’s and girl’s rugby for a number of years. The Women’s Rugby League Development Manager at Cardiff Blue Dragons, she was one of those responsible for setting up this side and organising Wales’ first ever open-age women’s club rugby league match. A rugby union player with Whitchurch in Cardiff, her recent work with “Rugby Fit” has seen a big increase in girls wanting to enjoy the benefits of rugby, now in both codes, within Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.
She said: “This is a fantastic new challenge for me as I’m really passionate about the development of women's rugby league in Wales. I’ve always been a great fan of the sport and I firmly believe in promoting women's health, fitness, and wellbeing.
“I’m so glad that Alf Harvey at Cardiff Blue Dragons gave me the opportunity to get involved, it’s been fantastic working with the women so far and I'm looking forward to promoting further and engaging with more women across Wales in this fantastic sport.”
Wales will play two fixtures this autumn, facing Great Britain Teacher at Sardis Road in Pontypridd on Saturday 26th October (kick-off 12.30pm) before taking on England Lions in their first ever capped game on Saturday 16th November at Leigh Miners Rangers RLFC (kick-off 3pm).