Wallaroos coach Dwayne Nestor has finally got his wish and believes a beefed-up schedule next year can boost their fortunes after another tough lesson from the Black Ferns.
A 39-8 loss in Auckland on Saturday came a week after a 47-10 defeat in Perth, reflecting a substantial gulf remains between the world’s first and sixth-ranked women’s rugby teams.
Nestor has pleaded for more domestic games at Super W for his players and more Tests if the Wallaroos are to advance.
He was delighted at confirmation of six Tests in 2020, all against higher-ranked opposition.
Matches against the US and Canada are scheduled, in addition to two more Tests against New Zealand.
It’s a record-sized program for a non-World Cup year and surpassed this year’s four matches, which included two Tests against minnows Japan.
“It’s going to give us the opportunity to play the top five teams in the world, so that’s where we want to be,” Nestor said.
“My message to the team after the game was: ‘We stay united, we stay strong and we come together and we work hard in the off-season because we want to be here and we want to compete and we ultimately want to win’.”
World champions New Zealand kept the Wallaroos scoreless in the second half at Eden Park but Nestor saw enough in the first spell to be encouraged.
They were physically combative for 60 minutes before their opponents’ experience took over.
“The Black Ferns have spent a lot of time together but we’re starting to settled on a pretty strong squad,” Nestor said.
“Obviously we’ve got our eyes open for any talent we can pick up in the meantime but we have faith in these girls.
“There’s some talent there that’s pretty untapped and it’s our job as coaches to make sure we get the best out of that talent.”
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