Sydney and Queensland have emerged on top of their respective pools at the conclusion of the first day of the National Women’s XVs Championship in Sydney on Wednesday.
Both sides had two bonus point wins allowing them to top Pool A and Pool B respectively with the ACT and Western Australia providing competition for top spots.
Wallaroos Head Coach Paul Verrell said that day one of competition had provided some selection headaches for him and his selection panel:
“We saw some very high quality matches today and it is clear that the standard of the competition has improved greatly since the last Women’s National XVs Championship in 2013.
“There will be a few Wallaroos from the 2014 squad who will be under pressure for their positions but we welcome selection headaches.
“This competition is an important first step in building a Wallaroos campaign for the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup.”
Following the tournament a 40 woman Wallaroos squad will be selected for a training camp at Bond University Gold Coast to continue their development on the ARU’s Pathway to Gold program.
Day two continues in Sydney on Thursday 25 June at St Ignatius College, Riverview. Click here for the 2015 draw.
Sydney v South Australia
Sydney 31 (Ashleigh Hewson 2, Tayma Terita, Kim Davey, Katrina Barker tries; Ashleigh Hewson 3 cons;) defeated South Australia 0
Sydney showed its experience in a side that held plenty of Wallaroos experience to defeat South Australia 31-0 in the opening match of the Championship. South Australia tested their more fancied opponents with the score at 10-0 at half time.
A strong second half that included some great running from Sydney fullback Ashleigh Hewson saw the Sydneysiders break away for a bonus point win to get their Championship campaign off to a strong start.
Alcohol Think Again WA v Victoria
Western Australia 8 (Janice Farrell tries;pens Hayley Barclayo) defeated Victoria 0
Western Australia started well controlling the first half not letting the Victorians gain any form of meaningful possession or territory. Victoria’s resolute defence restricted their western opponents from scoring on several occasions with the only points coming through a penalty converted by Hayley Barclayo.
The second half started very similarly with Western Australia controlling possession and the Vics being resolute in defence. The second half try stalemate continued as both sides refused to be beaten in the contact. Eventually some quick ball movement from the Western Australian backs created the opportunity for winger Janice Farrell to score a try late taking the score to 8-0.
Queensland vs Australian Services Rugby Union (ASRU)
Queensland 32 (Amelia Kuk 2, Hana Noaha, Kinby Sefo, Kimberley Hunt, Alydin Bane tries; Alydin Baines 1/6cons pens) defeated ASRU 0
A dominant performance by Queensland saw the side emerge victorious 32-0 in a six try routing of ASRU. Scrum half Alydin Bane had a dominant performance, making her presence known throughout the match as she provided excellent service to the backs and directed the forwards across the paddock.
Queensland’s forwards continued to dominate against ASRU who struggled for possession and territory against the classy Queenslanders. Amelia Kuk showed her ability in scoring two tries throughout the match with Queensland showing from their first match that they will be a force to be reckoned with in the Championship.
ACT v NSW Country
ACT (Michelle Perry 2, Tayla Stanford tries;) defeated NSW Country 0
The ACT have emerged victorious in a tight struggle against NSW Country in their first match of the day. The ACT side led by veteran Wallaroos hooker, Louise Burrows showed great promise as the flashy ACT backs showed their pace and finesse to score three first half tries to take the score to 15-0.
Although the score line remained a stalemate in the second half, the ACT showed poise to edge out a formidable NSW Country outfit, who proved in the second half they will ask defensive questions of the teams they face.
Sydney v Victoria
Sydney 31 (Emma Lincoln-Smith, Tayma Terita, Ariana Kaiwai, Sarah Laman, Urshla Kere tries; Ashleigh Hewson 3 cons; pens) defeated Victoria 7 (Sam Taemerne tries; Babbana Hill cons;)
Sydney continued their excellent start to the tournament with a try nearly scored in the opening minute to Emma Lincoln-Smith who was just brought into touch by Victoria’s cover defence. With territory and possession Sydney attacked Victoria in their own half and created defensive headaches for the Rebels. Onoata Schwalger from Victoria proved to be a powerhouse in defence and communicated with her fellow Victorians throughout the match.
A strong second half from Sydney saw the side run in three tries to Victoria’s one to ensure a second bonus point victory. Ashleigh Hewson remained solid with the boot kicking three conversions to ensure that Sydney outclassed Victoria. A blistering try from fullback Sam Taemerne was the highlight for Victoria as the young speedster darted around the covering defence to score underneath the posts.
Western Australia v South Australia
Western Australia 14 (Louise Gray, Hayley Barclay tries; cons; Hayley Barclay 2 pens) defeated South Australia 5 (Taj Heald tries;)
Western Australia played patiently to hold out a late charge by the South Australians with flyhalf Hayley Barclay proving to be the star performer for the women from the west. The match started slowly as both team’s forwards looked to dominate the set piece. Barclay found space for Western Australia and broke through the South Australian line to score under the posts.
The second half saw a spirited South Australia continue to fight Western Australia for possession and they were eventually rewarded with a try to Taj Heald. It wasn’t enough for South Australia though as Western Australia showed experience to hold on for the important 14-5 win.
Queensland v NSW Country
Queensland 22(Aydin Bain, Siniva Ali Ki, Hilisha Samoa 2 tries; cons Aydin Bain 1; pens) defeated NSW Country 0
Queensland came out strong early with dominating tries from Aydin Bain, Siniva Ali and continued to apply the pressure to NSW Country. Country refused to bow down to Queensland’s pressure and worked in hard defence with quick speed from the line.
Despite this commitment, Queensland’s powerful forwards were able to move over the advantage line frequently and scored three tries in the first half. A stronger second half showing from the NSW Country Eagles held Queensland out to just one try but it wasn’t enough to register their own points as they lost the match 22-0.
ACT v ASRU
ACT 26 (Kate Brown, Lani Yabaki, Michelle Perry, Sammy Maxwell tries; Tayla Stanford cons) defeated ASRU 0
The ACT continued their excellent form against ASRU and looked like a side playing with confidence going into the match. The ACT forwards led by Louise Burrows provided an excellent platform at the breakdown for ACT’s backs to explore ASRU defensive gaps out wide.
ASRU defended well but began to tire against waves of ACT attacks throughout the match. Kate Brown and Michelle Perry worked hard across the park and were both rewarded with tries. The ACT proved that they will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the competition with their commitment to the breakdown and clear game structures.