It’s been a whirlwind week for Sarah Riordan, one of 12 potential Wallaroos debutants to line up at Eden Park.
Riordan had her first Wallaroos opportunity on Tuesday, an outing she knew would be her chance to impress coach Paul Verrell.
And that’s exactly what she did, scoring a try and standing out in a 21-19 win over Auckland on Tuesday.
Being named in the starting side against Auckland, in my head, I probably thought I wouldn’t get much game time on Saturday, but it was a great honour...I thought, ‘this is my chance to show Paul what I can do and show the girls and it paid off,” she said.
“Ever since the team announcement it’s been crazy and hectic not only my first cap but all the hype around the double header.
“It’s been hard to keep that focus but I just want to focus on my role and let my rugby do the talking.”
The buzz around the Wallaroos game has been bigger than any Test they have been a part of and Riordan said it was a symbol of the progress women’s sport had made this season.
“I think it’s massive - it’s done wonders for XVs rugby for women in Australia,” she said.
“Coming off the olympics, the sevens girls brought rugby to everyone’s eyes. Nowit’s all aout Xvs and combined with the sevens, it shows girls that this is a goal, this is what you can do, it is achievable.
With us not only playing but before the men it’s done wonders for women’s XVs, the amount of press and support...I didn’t really expect it and great to know everyone’s behind us.”
Friday’s captain’s run was the first time the Wallaroos had crossed paths with the Wallabies in training, with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika taking the time to introduce himself and chat to players on the ground, a move Riordan said did not go unnoticed.
“He asked us how we were if we were nervous, had a little bit of laugh...we just hung out and it takes your mind off why you’re here a little bit,” she said.
“He [Cheika] came up to us and introduced himself. The girls were all a bit scared to go up and say hi but he’s a good bloke and a lot of the boys, like Michael Hooper introduced themselves too.”
The Wallaroos take on the formidable Black Ferns on Saturday, kicking off at 3:05pm AEDT, with the Bledisloe Cup at 5:35pm AEDT.