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'Records are meant to be broken': Wallaroos entering quarter-finals with nothing to lose

Shannon Parry motivating her Wallaroos side. Photo by Hannah Peters - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

Wallaroos captain Shannon Parry says the Wallaroos’ forward pack needs to match tournament favourites England if they’re to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.


Free of expectations against super-hot favourites England, the Wallaroos are hoping they can finally find their best rugby and a shock pathway to the Rugby World Cup semi-finals.

Jay Tregonning’s side face a rampaging Red Roses who boast a 28-Test winning streak and tournament favouritism in Auckland on Sunday.

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It’s an unlucky match-up for Australia, who finished sixth after group stage play and as such were due to play the third-ranked side in the last eight.

“To win the World Cup, you’ve got to beat everyone. So it’s a great challenge,” captain Shannon Parry told AAP, painting the clash in a positive light.

“We’ve got nothing to lose so we’re looking to just put in a really proud performance that we can hang our heads high on.”

Australia reached the quarters after beating Scotland 14-12 and Wales 13-7, but Parry believes their best performance came in their opening-night loss to New Zealand.


The Wallaroos romped to a 17-0 lead against the Black Ferns before being swamped in the second half, losing 41-17 at Eden Park.

Parry believes the same ingredient from that loss will be back on Sunday – favouritism shifting to their opponents.

“The first game against the Kiwis where there was no pressure on us, we’ve just gone out and played footy, that was our best half of footy so far,” she said.

“This weekend, it’s gonna be really similar. The Poms are on 28 wins, their run, so there’s no pressure on us … records are meant to be broken. So let’s try to do it this Sunday.”


Underscoring their favouritism, England have never failed to reach the semi-finals of a World Cup and have beaten Australia in all five previous meetings.

In words Parry would take great delight in hearing, England coach Simon Middleton admitted he had a “huge fear” of that streak snapping on Sunday.

“I don’t like losing. The fear of losing and having been on that side where we have lost is a driving motivator to not be in a position to lose again,” he said.

Tregonning has made three changes for the clash with Iliseva Batibasaga benched in favour of Layne Morgan at scrum-half due to her speed.

Lori Cramer shifts to the wing in the absence of Ivania Wong (hamstring) and Grace Kemp will start ahead of Atasi Lafai.

Parry said the key to success would be to make sure the Australian forward pack stood up.

“They are obviously a very robust forward pack that gets the go-forward to them. They score a lot of tries off rolling mauls and off their lineout scrum,” she said.

“For us it’s about controlling that set piece domain and then being able to use our electric backs as we’ve shown when we get them forward space, they’re really unstoppable.”


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