Next month’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland is all about intensity and attitude for Mollie Gray and the Wallaroos.
Those are familiar traits for Gray, who was up against it to even be in the mix for the tournament, after rupturing her ACL at February’s Brisbane Global Tens.
“I actually did my ACL, my PCL, my MCL, dislocated my kneecap and shredded the cartilage,” she said, describing and injury that many thought would end her World Cup hopes.
Though her odds of playing appeared slim, when doctors told Gray she would be a chance to return for the Ireland competition, if she was willing to put in the work, there was no hesitation about it.
“Basically, the doctors, the Wallaroos, everyone gave me the opportunity to get back if I wanted to, and from there, I planned on making it back,” she said.
There’s no reason she wouldn’t want to either, with the desire to be a part of one of the most extensive World Cup preparations Australia has ever had.
“This is definitely the best-prepared we’ve ever been,” Gray said.
“There’s lots of excitement, lots of new girls, we played two tests last year, we’ve played three this year, we’ve been in camp a long time, there’s a really positive vibe,”
“There’s a lot of nerves, but there’s such a crisp, focused feel in camp.”
For the Wallaroos, that attitude will be vital in preparing them for three tough pool matches against France, Japan, and host nation Ireland.
“We’ve had really strong preparations pre-World Cup, playing New Zealand and some of the other best nations in the world, it’s kind of set the bar for what to expect,” Gray said.
“Obviously we’ve got a massive game against Ireland, but it will also be kind of calming to get through such a big game early on, then we’ve got France, who beat us at the last World Cup.
“We’ve got a difficult pool, but we’ll just be taking it one game at a time. It’ll kind of set us on a high from the start.”
Once the Wallaroos hit Ireland, Gray said their success will always come back to those two core attributes.
“We’re all on the same page, we’ve all got the same goals, it’ll just be about ticking the boxes and making sure we’re prepared,” she said.
“It will be about intensity and attitude.”
The Wallaroos open their World Cup campaign on August 10 against Ireland, kicking off at 4am AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS.