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Desiree Miller scores four as Wallaroos run away with big win over Fiji

By Finn Morton
Australia's Desiree Miller scores a try during the women's international rugby union match between Australia and Fiji at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on July 6, 2024. (Photo by DAVID GRAY / AFP)

Winger Desiree Miller stole the show on Saturday evening with a stunning try-scoring blitz that helped inspire the Wallaroos’ first victory under coach Jo Yapp. The Aussies recovered from a slow start as they ran away with a commanding 64-5 win over Fiji.

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The Wallaroos have played at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium once before this year but that was a defeat to Canada, who went on to win World Rugby’s Pacific Four Series. USA and New Zealand also beat Australia but they’ve bounced back in a big way.

More than one month on from their last Test match against the Black Ferns at Auckland’s North Harbour Stadium, coach Yapp named an exciting squad for the clash with Fiji. The team included a mix of experienced campaigners and four potential debutants in the 23.

Flyhalf Arabella McKenzie and loosehead prop Eva Karpani both celebrated their 25h Test matches after being named in the starting side, and other key players included the likes of captain Michaela Leonard at lock, Piper Duck at No. 8 and Lori Cramer out the back.

McKenzie got the match underway with a kick-off on a cool Sydney evening, and it seemed to be one-way traffic early on. Australia dominated possession but couldn’t turn their attacking pressure into points as Fiji’s defensive wall stood strong.

Knock-ons and other mistakes from the Aussies helped keep Fiji in the contest. The hosts weren’t able to take any sense of control on the scoreboard as they scores remain locked at nil-all beyond the 10 minute mark.

Fiji didn’t really touch the ball for more than 12 minutes, but another knock-on gifted them possession. Fijiana set up for an attacking scrum about 30 metres out from the try line and they certainly made the most of it with Adita Milinia crossing for the opener.

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Well and truly against the run of play, the visitors led 5-nil.

But there was a sense of inevitability about the Wallaroos. They kept the attacking pressure on and were rewarded with winger Desiree Miller getting one back for the Aussies in the 15th minute, and the winger scored again a couple of minutes later.

The Wallaroos were ahead on the scoreboard and had the confidence to match. As for Fiji, errors and poor discipline began to creep into their game. Australia made the most of those inaccuracies with Eva Karpani scoring from a rolling maul.

It was the Miller show, though, with the NSW Waratahs speedster adding a third with 10 minutes left to play in the half. The hat-trick was complete and it left the Wallaroos in a strong position with a 24-5 lead.

That’s how the scores stayed going into the break, and then a familiar narrative resumed for Miller and the Wallaroos. The No. 11 reaped the rewards of some quick hands from the Aussies to score, incredibly, a fourth try in less than 50 minutes.

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Siokapesi Palu, Cecilia Smith, Trilleen Pomare, Tiarna Molloy and Bridie O’Gorman also got on the scoresheet as the Wallaroos showcased the very best of their attacking flair in a commanding win.

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Comments

3 Comments
B
Brian 12 days ago

Couldn’t agree more James. They have the potential to be a real top 5 team distancing themselves from Scotland, Wales, Italy and Ireland, but it is becoming very competitive and those nations are also determined to move forward to close the gap on France and the Red Roses. Jo Yapp is as good a coach as they can have for the journey.

J
James 13 days ago

Our Wallaroos are a very talented team but never get any credit in the Media in Perth. It’s all about the AFL. WAN is a terrible Sports reporting paper. The Wallabies won and got four inches of a column in the Sports section. The ABs win got one small paragraph. What a disgrace!

B
Brian 15 days ago

Pleased for Jo Yapp. Aussies have sufficient talent and athleticism to become a good team. WXV2 will be interesting plus the warm up against Ireland.

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