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French quartet join the Knights!

York City Knights Ladies can this evening confirm the arrival of four new signings from Catalans Dragons Women, all of whom come into contention for Sunday’s Betfred Women’s Super League match against Wigan Warriors at the LNER Community Stadium.

Elisa Akpa, Anais Fourcroy (right in the image), Margot Canal (left in the image) and Leila Bessahli have all joined the Knights after the Ladies’ joint training camp in the South of France this week with the French internationals impressing Director of Rugby Lindsay Anfield.

The quartet join after the culmination of Catalans’ domestic season and each of the French internationals will be keen to gain further match fitness ahead of representing their country at the end-of-season Rugby League World Cup.

Full-back or back-rower Elisa Akpa is the current vice-captain of the national team while Anais Fourcroy and Leila Bessahli are both forwards, second rowers and props, respectively. Margot Canal is a pacey winger who will be keen to add to her try tally with the Knights.

On the trip to France and her new recruits, Anfield said: “We went over to France to have a training trip with Catalans Dragons, to have some time on the field together and to begin a relationship between the two clubs. As a result of that, four of the girls wanted to come over to England. They’ve got the World Cup coming up and their club teams aren’t in training at the minute.

“We offered them housing over here and to come train with the Knights to keep them playing rugby until the World Cup. As it’s happened, we’ve got a lot of injuries in the camp and the opportunity presented itself for these girls to come to York and get some match action and to become useful for it. We’re giving these girls an opportunity but it’s also massively beneficial to us at this time.

“Ahead of this weekend, we were down to fifteen fit players for the Wigan game – this isn’t a case of us dropping any of our girls for the new signings, we absolutely need them this weekend and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do.

“We’re really keen to not just focus on the Knights but also help the growth of women’s rugby league, and getting these four girls over to give them the opportunity is something we’re really proud to do.”

The trip to France not only served as a joint-training camp in hot weather, it also continued the theme of the Knights providing life opportunities to our Ladies squad with several members of the squad who travelled heading abroad for the first time.

Training consisted of both field and gym sessions with the leading French domestic team and the change of environment has been said to have further aided the togetherness and spirit of the Knights squad as the team enter the final two games of the regular season and Play-Off series.


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