Source: Joe Allison/Getty Images

A new-look Wallaroos Squad

  • +1

Jo Yapp has announced her first Wallaroos squad in preparation for the coming Pacific Four Series. It contains 30 players:

*Allana Sikimeti (ACT Brumbies), Asoiva (Eva) Karpani (NSW Waratahs, 21 caps, Brianna Hoy (NSW Waratahs, 3), Bridie O’Gorman (NSW Waratahs, 17), *Sally Fuesaina (ACT Brumbies),
*Hera-Barb Malcolm Heke (Western Force), Tania Naden (ACT Brumbies, 10), Kaitlan Leaney (NSW Waratahs, 15), Michaela Leonard (captain, Western Force, 22), *Tiarah Minns (Melbourne Rebels), Ashley Marsters (Melbourne Rebels, 26), Atasi Lafai (NSW Waratahs, 9), Leilani Nathan (NSW Waratahs, 2), *Lydia Kavoa (ACT Brumbies), Siokapesi Palu (ACT Brumbies, 6), Piper Duck (NSW Waratahs, 10), Tabua Tuinakauvadra (ACT Brumbies, 4), Layne Morgan (NSW Waratahs, 19), *Samantha Wood (Western Force), Arabella McKenzie (NSW Waratahs, 21), Faitala Moleka (ACT Brumbies, 6), Cecilia Smith (Queensland Reds, 12), Georgina Friedrichs (NSW Waratahs, 19), *Shalom Sauaso (Queensland Reds), Trilleen Pomare (Western Force, 24), *Biola Dawa (ACT Brumbies), Desiree Miller (NSW Waratahs, 2), Maya Stewart (NSW Waratahs, 8), *Caitlyn Halse (NSW Waratahs), Lori Cramer (Queensland Reds, 19)

*uncapped player

Four players are unavailable through injury: Emily Chancellor, Bree-Anna Cheatham, Jasmin Huriwai, Adiana Talakai.

Yapp adds ten development players for the first six days of training:

Ashley Fernandez (ACT Brumbies), Ashlea Bishop (ACT Brumbies), Brittany Merlo (NSW Waratahs), Janita Kareta (Queensland Reds), Melanie Wilks (Queensland Reds), Natalie Wright (Queensland Reds), Skye Churchill (NSW Waratahs), Tamika Jones (Western Force), Tiarna Molloy (Queensland Reds), Waiaria Ellis (NSW Waratahs)

Annabelle Codey, Emily Robinson, Ivania Wong and Sera Naiqama don’t find a place.

We shouldn’t be surprised to see the relative lack of experience shown in the list; that is par for an Australian team. They still seem able to come together the night before a big match and put on a show. Three teenagers are named, most noticeably 16-year-old Shalom Sauaso, who has stood out as a centre, despite her youth.

In the longer term, it’s vital for players to appear from the less rugby-minded corners of the nation, specifically Western and South Australia. The South misses out again, but five Western Force players find favour, including the captain. The Super W winners, NSW Waratahs, lead the way as usual with thirteen.

It will be fascinating to see how the Wallaroos fare under the new management team. They are similar to the USA Eagles in their relative lack of big-match game time, and they have fewer players with experience of playing in Europe, but that didn’t prevent them mangling the Eagles 58-17 last July.

Now the challenge is to improve on the two other results: 0-50 v the Black Ferns and 7-45 v the Maple Leafs.

First fixture: v Canada, 11 May, Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *