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'Excitement is high': Kiwi-born flyhalf named in Wallaroos squad

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Head Coach Jay Tregonning has confirmed his first Wallaroos squad of the 2023 season, with 32 players named ahead of the year’s first Test match against Fiji on 20 May.

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After an exciting Buildcorp Super W tournament that saw the Queensland Reds go head-to-head with the Fijiana Drua in the Grand Final in Townsville last weekend, Wallaroos selectors had some difficult decisions to make.

“With a packed international calendar, the 2023 season is full of opportunity for both our emerging and established players,” said Tregonning.

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“The athletes called into the squad distinguished themselves through the work ethic, commitment and drive they displayed during the Buildcorp Super W competition.

“After the most competitive Super W season in recent history, the excitement is high heading into camp later this week. No-one has booked their spot in the team: everything is on the table, and players will be hungry to secure that gold jersey for our first Test match.”

Tregonning has named 11 new players in the squad, including 16-year-old NSW Waratahs fullback, Caitlyn Halse, 18-year-old fly-half Faitala Moleka, and the newly eligible Carys Dallinger.

The group sees familiar faces returning in the front row, with Bridie O’Gorman, Eva Karpani, Emily Robinson, Madison Schuck and Bree-Anna Cheatham named alongside development player Laiema Bosenavulagi, of Melbourne Rebels fame.

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Hookers Adiana Talakai and Tania Naden also return with locks Sera Naiqama, Michaela Leonard, Annabelle Codey and Deni Ross joining the squad.

Wallaroos legends Grace Hamilton and Shannon Parry are the mainstays of the back row, with the addition of Tabua Tuinakauvadra, Leilani Nathan and Ashley Marsters.

Following the retirement of Iliseva Batibasaga, a young trio of scrum halves have been selected, including Layne Morgan, Sarah Lewis and Jasmin Huriwai.

The experienced quartet of Pesi Palu, Trilleen Pomare, Cecilia Smith and 2022 Wallaroos Player of the Year Georgina Friedrichs are the midfield options, with Ivania Wong, Maya Stewart and rookies Ashlea Bishop, Desiree Miller and Alana Elisaia the selections in the back three.

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NSW Waratahs flanker Piper Duck is unavailable due to an injury sustained during the Buildcorp Super W season.

“The added investment into the program from Rugby Australia and World Rugby has been a great step in the right direction as we work to professionalise the Women’s game,” Tregonning continued.

“Creating a strong foundation, with the right support for our players, is crucial to expanding and developing the program. With the addition of a new Women’s High Performance Manager later this year, I am confident the squad will go from strength-to-strength throughout the 2023 season.”

WALLAROOS SQUAD FOR MAY CAMP
Adiana Talakai – 24 – NSW Waratahs – 9 caps
Alana Elisaia – 29 – Queensland Reds – 1 cap
Annabelle Codey – 26 – Queensland Reds – 2 caps
Ashlea Bishop – 25 – ACT Brumbies – uncapped
Ashley Marsters – 29 – Melbourne Rebels – 19 caps
Bree-Anna Cheatham – 26 – Queensland Reds – 1 cap
Bridie O’Gorman – 24 – NSW Waratahs – 11 caps
Caitlyn Halse – 16 – NSW Waratahs – uncapped
Carys Dallinger – 23 – Queensland Reds – uncapped
Cecilia Smith – 29 – Queensland Reds – 5 caps
Deni Ross – 22 – Queensland Reds – uncapped
Desiree Miller – 21 – NSW Waratahs – uncapped
Emily Robinson – 30 – NSW Waratahs – 18 caps
Eva Karpani – 26 – NSW Waratahs – 13 caps
Faitala Moleka – 18 – ACT Brumbies – uncapped
Georgina Friedrichs – 28 – NSW Waratahs – 11 caps
Grace Hamilton – 31 – NSW Waratahs – 25 caps
Ivania Wong – 25 – Queensland Reds – 7 caps
Jasmin Huriwai – 29 – ACT Brumbies – uncapped
Laiema Bosenavulagi – 17 – Melbourne Rebels – uncapped
Layne Morgan – 24 – NSW Waratahs – 11 caps
Leilani Nathan – 22 – NSW Waratahs – uncapped
Madison Schuck – 31 – Queensland Reds – 5 caps
Maya Stewart – 23 – NSW Waratahs – 1 cap
Michaela Leonard – 28 – Western Force – 14 caps
Sarah Lewis – 25 – Queensland Reds – uncapped
Sera Naiqama – 27 – NSW Waratahs – 6 caps
Shannon Parry – 33 – Queensland Reds – 23 caps
Siokapesi Palu – 28 – ACT Brumbies – 1 cap
Tabua Tuinakauvadra – 20 – ACT Brumbies – uncapped
Tania Naden – 31 – ACT Brumbies – 2 caps
Trilleen Pomare – 30 – Western Force – 21 caps

– Press Release/Wallaroos

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