Source: Joe Allison/Getty Images

Australia v Canada

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Pacific Four Series Preview

This can’t help being a fascinating clash.

On the Wallaroos side we have Jo Yapp, a (relatively) new coach picking her first team and causing one or two upsets in the process. For the Maple Leafs Kévin Rouet is building a squad that looks increasingly potent.

These are the teams selected:


1. Brianna Hoy (NSW Waratahs), 2.Tania Naden (ACT Brumbies), 3. Bridie O’Gorman (NSW Waratahs), 4. Kaitlan Leaney (NSW Waratahs), 5. Michaela Leonard (captain, Western Force), 6. Siokapesi Palu (ACT Brumbies), 7. Ashley Marsters (Melbourne Rebels), 8. Piper Duck (NSW Waratahs), 9. Layne Morgan (NSW Waratahs), 10. Arabella McKenzie (NSW Waratahs), 11. Desiree Miller (NSW Waratahs), 12. Trilleen Pomare (Western Force), 13. Georgina Firedrichs (NSW Waratahs), 14. Maya Stewart (NSW Waratahs) 15. Lori Cramer (Queensland Reds)

16. *Hera Barb Malcolm Heke (Western Force),17. *Sally Fuesaina (ACT Brumbies), 18. Eva Karpani (NSW Waratahs), 19. Atasa Lafai (NSW Waratahs), 20. Leilani Nathan (NSW Waratahs), 21. Tabua Tuinakauvadra (ACT Brumbies), 22. *Samantha Wood, 23. Faitala Moleka (ACT Brumbies)


1. McKinley Hunt (Saracens), 2. Sara Cline (Western Force ), 3. DaLeaka Menin (Exeter Chiefs), 4. Tyson Beukeboom (Trailfinders) ,  5. Laetitia Royer (ASM Romagnat ), 6. Pamphinette Buisa (Ottawa Irish), 7. Sophie de Goede (captain, Saracens), 8. Gabrielle Senft (Stade Bordelais), 9. Olivia Apps (Lindsay), 10. Claire Gallagher (Leicester Tigers ), 11. Paige Farries (Saracens ), 12. Alexandra Tessier (Exeter Chiefs), 13. Fancy Bermudez (Westshore), 14. Madison Grant (Cornwall Claymores), 15. Sarah-Maude Lachance (Stade Bordelais)

16. Emily Tuttosi (Exeter Chiefs), 17. Brittany Kassil (Guelph ), 18. Alexandria Ellis (Stade Français), 19. Courtney Holtkamp (Red Deer Titans), 20. Fabiola Forteza (Stade Bordelais), 21. Justine Pelletier (Stade Bordelais), 22. Julia Schell (Trailfinders),  23. Shoshanah Seumanutafa (Chiefs Manawa)

Canada look to have all the advantages bar one: the match takes place in Sydney. Last year’s result in Ottawa was a clear 45-7 win for the home side. That is the gap Jo Yapp’s squad has to bridge.

She has picked three potential debutants on the bench, Hera-Barb Malcolm Heke, Sally Fuesaina and Samantha Wood. With Piper Duck returning to action after a frustrating year-long injury, she takes her place at No 8, allowing Kaitlan Leaney to return to the second row. Although Jay Tregonning had selected Duck as his new captain, that injury meant the armband went to Michaela Leonard, and she retains it.

Yapp’s forceful influence, backed by an extra $3 million backing offered by Cadbury, is helping to increase the pace of an increasingly professional approach. She has been clear about her policy: she has picked players who fit in with the overall game-plan she and her staff are building. That has meant the exclusion of one or two familiar names. She has explained to them how they can win favour again, and – in the time-honoured phrase – the door is not shut.

She has focussed as far as reasonable on experience, exemplified by honours coming to two Canadian players: Tyson Beukeboom will equal the most capped Maple Leaf of all, Gillian Florence, on 67. Alongside her Alex Tessier will gain her 50th cap.

Three of their team-mates join the starting XV after missing out in the first match of the series against the USA: McKinley Hunt, Sarah-Maude Lachance and Fancy Bermudez.

Sophie de Goede may possibly suffer from travel sickness as Rouet moves her from 6 to 7, although 8 has been her go-to position for seemingly ever.

Fixture details:

Saturday 11 May, Allianz Stadium Sydney, KO 16.45, AEST time

In order to help ensure a large crowd, the game forms the first part of a double-header. It makes that late afternoon start, followed by a men’s match, Waratahs v Brumbies, in the evening.

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