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Five new faces in Wallaroos squad for Fijiana Test

By AAP
Australia line up for the national anthem during the 2024 Pacific Four Series match between Australian Wallaroos and Canada at Allianz Stadium on May 11, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Wallaroos coach Jo Yapp has made five changes to the squad for their next Test match from the players who competed in the Pacific Four series.

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The Australian women will take on Fijiana at Allianz Stadium as part of a double-header with the Wallabies, who face Wales later on Saturday

Queensland Reds trio Natalie Wright, Madison Schuck and Tiarna Molloy join Western Force pair Tamika Jones and Alapeta Ngauamo as the fresh faces in the 30-player squad, while halfback Samantha Wood is unavailable due to injury.

Schuck and Molloy return to the squad after making their debuts previously with uncapped trio Wright, Jones and Ngauamo aiming for a maiden Test jersey.

The remainder of the squad contains 13 players from Super W champions NSW including Caitlyn Halse, who became the youngest Test debutant aged 17 during the Pacific Four series in May.

Caitlyn Halse takes the USA defence on during the Pacific Four series. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)
The ACT Brumbies have seven players as uncapped trio Allana Sikimeti, Biola Dawa and Lydia Kavoa continue to push for a Wallaroos debut while Queensland Reds have five in total, Western Force four and Ash Marsters from the Melbourne Rebels.

Yapp said the team’s preparation was on track after a training camp in Canberra.

“We’ve had a really good few days at the AIS in Canberra preparing for the next two Test matches,” Yapp said.

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“The players have taken a noticeable step up over the last few weeks and our intra squad match on Saturday was a great opportunity to prepare and play at Test match level.

“The camp and game has given opportunities for new faces to join the squad and it’s important for us to keep building together with the World Cup just over 12 months away.”

After Fijiana the Wallaroos shift to Brisbane where they’ll take on New Zealand’s Black Ferns at Ballymore Stadium on Sunday July 14.

WALLAROOS: Lori Cramer, Biola Dawa, Piper Duck, Georgina Friedrichs, Caitlyn Halse, Brianna Hoy, Tamika Jones, Eva Karpani, Lydia Kavoa, Atasi Lafai, Kaitlan Leaney, Michaela Leonard (capt), Ashley Marsters, Arabella McKenzie, Desiree Miller, Faitala Moleka, Tiarna Molloy, Layne Morgan, Tania Naden, Leilani Nathan, Alapeta Ngauamo, Bridie O’Gorman, Siokapesi Palu, Trilleen Pomare, Madison Schuck, Allana Sikimeti, Cecilia Smith, Maya Stewart, Tabua Tuinakauvadra, Natalie Wright.

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finn 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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