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Wallaroos swing the axe for second Test with Black Ferns

By AAP
Arabella McKenzie from Australia reacts to another Black Ferns try during the match between New Zealand Black Ferns and the Australia Wallaroos at Orangetheory Stadium on August 20, 2022 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Peter Meecham/Getty Images)

Wallaroos coach Jay Tregonning has made sweeping changes as the Australian women’s rugby team tries to make a dent on a dominant New Zealand.

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The Wallaroos will play their first ever Test at Adelaide Oval on Saturday in a double-header with the men’s Australian team, who take on South Africa.

In the first Test of the O’Reilly Cup last weekend in Christchurch, the women were thrashed 52-5 by the Black Ferns to record Australia’s heaviest loss in five years.

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Among the seven changes to his starting side, Tregonning has handed a Test debut to Brumbies centre Siokapesi Palu and winger Bienne Terita, a member of the World Series-winning Sevens squad.

Liz Patu returns to the starting side in place of injured Bree-Anna Cheatham while Adiana Talakai and local Adelaide product Eva Karpani have been elevated from the reserves in a new-look front row.

Waratahs lock Atasi Lafai, who made her return from injury in New Zealand, will start in the second row alongside Michaela Leonard.

Grace Hamilton has been rewarded for her training effort with selection, replacing No.8 Grace Kemp who is out after a head knock.

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“We’ve made some changes this week off the back of last week’s result, as well as some minor injuries within the squad,” said Tregonning.

“We’re lucky to have built significant depth within the group over the last few months.

“We have two new players coming into the backline this week in Siokapesi and Bienne, and we believe they both have a lot to offer the team.

“We’ve had another solid week of training, off the back of an in-depth review following last weekend’s match, and the team are really looking forward to playing in Adelaide for the first time ever.”

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The teams are preparing for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in October, where the host will start among the favourites.

The trans-Tasman rivals are slated to meet on the opening night of the tournament at Auckland’s Eden Park on October 8.

Wallaroos: Pauline Piliae-Rasa bale, Bienne Terita, Georgina Friedrichs, Siokapesi Palu, Ivania Wong, Arabella McKenzie, Iliseva Batibasaga, Grace Hamilton, Shannon Parry (capt), Emily Chancellor, Michaela Leonard, Atasi Lafai, Eva Karpani, Adiana Talaka, Liz Patu. Res: Ashley Marsters, Emily Robinson, Bridie O’Gorman, Kaitlan Leaney, Piper Duck, Layne Morgan, Trilleen Pomare, Lori Cramer.

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