SAINTS Women have strengthened their squad by snapping up the highly-rated forward Megan Bragg from rivals Wigan Warriors.

Bragg is a talented, ball playing back rower, who has progressed from the DiSe pathway right through to the England Knights squad.

She picked up the Warriors Young Player of the Year award in her debut season back in 2019 and has impressed since, including in performances against Saints.

The treble-winners have also promoted Katie Mottershead, Amy Taylor, Alyx Bridge and Megan Williams from the U19s as they bolster the group ahead of their title defence.

All four girls who have stepped up into the first team environment have progressed through the Thatto Heath Women’s pathway.

Mottershead is a hooker or half back who has been involved with the squad for the past 12 months, but is yet to make her debut for the first team.

She has also progressed through the England DiSE programme – the RFL’s government-funded Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) which is a talent pathway for 16 to 18 olds hoping to perform at the highest level in the women’s game.

Taylor is another to complete through the programme and has a great skill set. She will add further competition in the halves.

Bride is a powerful back rower who makes the step up and she will be joined by former Thatto U16s star Megan Williams who will fight it out for a spot in the back row.

Head Coach Derek Hardman said: “I am delighted to welcome these girls into our first team squad. It is great to develop and promote girls from within our Club and town and Megan Bragg is also a great signing for us.

“Our new U19s programme will hopefully continue to bring through the next set of talented young players and all the girls will add depth to our talented squad.”

Head of Women’s Rugby Craig Richards said: “The girls have developed through the Thatto Heath pathway. It is great to work closely with them as well as aligning with our Community Foundation.

“These are another set of players off the Thatto conveyor belt that will hopefully go on to be as successful as the current crop – including the likes of Jodie Cunningham, Emily Rudge and Chantelle Crowl.”

The Women’s Super League season kicks off in March with the Challenge Cup Group stages.