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Jo Yapp names Australia squad for Pacific Four Series

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 03: Michaela Leonard of Australia looks on during the WXV1 match between Australia Wallaroos and Wales at Go Media Stadium Mt Smart on November 03, 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Wallaroos head coach Jo Yapp has named her squad for the upcoming Pacific Four Series, which will be her first competition in charge of the Australian national side.

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The Series, which started on 28th April with Canada winning 50-7 against hosts the USA continues on 11th May when New Zealand face the USA. Yapp’s Wallaroos will take on Canada at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney on the same day.

All matches can be viewed for free on RugbyPass TV in Australia and worldwide everywhere except New Zealand, the USA, and Canada.

Fixture
Pacific Four Series
Australia Women's
14 - 33
Full-time
Canada Women's
All Stats and Data

The competition provides qualification for both Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 and WXV which will take place later in 2024.

The Wallaroos will be up against the USA for qualification for the World Cup through Pacific Four, with the highest-finishing of the two booking their place in England and joining New Zealand and Canada who have already qualified as a result of reaching the semi-finals of the last World Cup.

England and France also both qualified through their semi-final places in 2022, and most recently, Ireland qualified for the first time since the 2017 Rugby World Cup with their final-day Six Nations win against Scotland and as a result the third-place finish at the end of the competition.

Their WXV level for 2024 will also be decided by where they finish in Pacific Four, with the top three teams qualifying for WXV 1, the level the Wallaroos competed in last year, and the bottom team travelling to South Africa for WXV 2.

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Yapp has included 20 players for the upcoming fixtures who featured in Australia’s WXV 1 and O’Reilly Cup competitions last year with a further nine potential debutants also included in the 30-player strong squad.

In addition, ten development players will also join the Pacific Four squad ahead of their opening match in Sydney.

Michaela Leonard, who plays her club rugby for Western Force, retains her position as captain. Uncapped duo Hera-Barb Malcolm Heke and Samantha Wood, who both also play for Western Force, are included in the squad alongside previously capped Wallaroo Trilleen Pomare (24 caps). From the same club, Tamika Jones is also named in the development squad.

Among the uncapped players, 32-year-old Sally Fuesaina earns a place in the squad after impressing for ACT Brumbies, from which she is joined by a further seven Super Rugby Women’s teammates, three of whom are also uncapped players (Allana Sikimeti, Lydia Kavoa, and Biola Dawa). Additionally, two Brumbies players are also in the development squad (Ashley Fernandez and Ashlea Bishop).

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There are 13 players from the victorious Super Rugby Women’s side NSW Waratahs included in the Wallaroos squad, including Desiree Miller and Maya Stewart who both scored in the final. Also among them is Piper Duck, who returns to the squad after injury ruled her out last season, as well as Wallaroos Player of the Year for 2023 Eva Karpani. Joining them in the development squad are Brittany Merlo, Skye Churchill, and Waiaria Ellis.

Queensland Reds will be represented by three players in the Wallaroos squad (Lori Cramer, Cecilia Smith, and uncapped 16-year-old Shalom Sauaso) as well as four in the development squad (Janita Kareta, Melanie Wilks, Natalie Wright, and Tiarna Molloy).

Due to injury, previously capped Emily Chancellor, Bree-Anna Cheatham, Jasmin Huriwai, and Adiana Talakai are all unavailable for selection.

After their opening match in Sydney, the Wallaroos will travel to Melbourne where they will host the USA (17th May) before heading to Auckland to face the Black Ferns in the final match of the competition on 25th May.

Wallaroos Head Coach Jo Yapp said: “The Super Rugby Women’s competition has been really competitive and has given us a great opportunity to not only observe our managed group but up and coming players too.

“We feel the squad we have selected for the Pacific Four series gives us a good mix of experience and youth. We are really looking forward to getting into camp and kick starting the competition against Canada.

“We will also bring in 10 development players into the training squad for the first six days. It is important that we start to expose more players to that next level up. We won’t know if they can take that step unless we give them the opportunity to do so.”

National Women’s High Performance Manager Jaime Fernandez added: “I would like to congratulate all of the players selected, it is great reward for their efforts and performances throughout the Super Rugby Women’s competition.

“I want to thank Jo and her team of coaches for undertaking a thorough and comprehensive process, whereby they selected a squad reflective of the fierce and competitive Super Rugby Women’s series.

“Players in both the Pacific Four and Development squads have demonstrated their capability and form throughout the last 10 weeks of pre-season and Super Rugby competition.

“I have been extremely pleased with the coaching staff’s approach and the attention to detail they have demonstrated, resulting in the Wallaroos’ first squad for 2024.

“I am also encouraged to see a mix of experience and youth, along with recognition of a group of players who are not far away from representative honours.

“We are firmly focused on not only the immediate goal of the upcoming Pacific Four series, but future Tests in 2024, and of course the longer-term goal being the Rugby World Cup in 2025.”

Related

2024 WALLAROOS SQUAD – PACIFIC FOUR SERIES

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

*denotes potential debutant

WALLAROOS DEVELOPMENT SQUAD

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)

The Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 is coming to England. Register now here to be the first to hear about tickets.

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