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Wallaroos look to go one better than last year's effort against the USA

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

Wallaroos captain Michaela Leonard hopes a high-energy training week could be just what her side needs to bounce back from a 50-point shellacking against New Zealand and beat the US this weekend.

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Australia remain in search of their first ever Pacific Four win and have headed to Ottawa to chase that breakthrough, battling an American side that were well-beaten by Canada in their opening match back in April.

Harlequins playmaker Arabella McKenzie takes the reins at five-eighth from Carys Dallinger in a big switch, while Lori Cramer will start at No.15 in place of the injured Faitala Moleka.

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Coach Jay Tregonning has also shuffled the pack somewhat, hooker Adiana Talakai resuming after injury with Kaitlan Leaney to start in the second row.

Leonard said her side was capable of far more than they showed in the NZ performance.

“The energy is high, I think the girls are ready to come out there and on Sunday night show the world what we can do and how skilful we actually are as a group,” she said.

“Everyone’s buying in and I don’t think anything else will pass this weekend.

“The girls have done well to bounce back from last week and everyone’s come out firing knowing that we can put out a better display.

“The standards have been lifted and it’s been really driven by the playing group, we’re expressing more of ourselves, challenging each other in everything that we do.”

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Australia went 0-3 in last year’s Pacific Four but saved their best performance for the Americans, charging home with two late tries to fall narrowly short and lose 16-14.

Whether or not they win, Leonard admitted they needed to restore pride in the jumper after being brushed aside by the Black Ferns.

“It’s really hard to put into words how much it means to pull on this jersey and this crest, and represent not only the sacrifice and the work that we put in day in, day out but also please … the people who paved the way for us,” she said.

“It’s an incredible honour and you want to, as soon as you put this jersey on, do the best that you can and be the best that you can for everyone who’s behind you.”

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WALLAROOS SQUAD: Bree-Anna Cheatham, Adiana Talakai, Eva Karpani, Michaela Leonard, Kaitlan Leaney, Ashley Marsters, Emily Chancellor, Grace Hamilton, Layne Morgan, Arabella McKenzie, Ivania Wong, Cecilia Smith, Georgina Friedrichs, Maya Stewart, Lori Cramer. Reserves: Tania Naden, Emily Robinson, Bridie O’Gorman, Sera Naiqama, Tabua Tuinakauvadra, Jasmin Huriwai, Trilleen Pomare, Alana Elisaia.

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