Burrows overwhelmed by Eden Park shot

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Just the thought of running out on to Eden Park on Saturday is overwhelming for Louise Burrows.

It's not a sense of the scale of the occasion getting to her, but rather the meaning of the match coming to the fore.

Saturday will be the first time the Wallaroos have a chance to play at Eden Park and speaking from Auckland, a choked up Burrows explains the significance.

“To play for your country, wear green and gold is so, so special and we all work so hard for it and to be rewarded with that jersey,” she says.

“Singing the national anthem alongside those girls, who are all there for the right and the same reasons, it’s hard to describe but usually I get mixed emotions and…they all bundle into one when you step out onto the at field.

The Wallaroos trained in Aucklad this week. Photo: ARU Media“To think I’m playing for myself and my teammates past and present, my family, for my children to be able to look up to me and be inspired by [me].

"[For them to be able to say],’That’s my mum’, to inspire them to chase their dreams is really amazing.”

Maybe it’s the product of having not played a Test since the 2014 Women’s World Cup, or just the memories of a long international career but Burrrows’ tears reflect the enormity of their opportunity this Saturday.

Burrows is a PE teacher in Canberra, who sees every day the potential impact success at the top level could have on the next generation.

The strides women’s sport has made this year could not have been clearer than with the support the Wallabies have shown this week, with players like Stephen Moore and David Pocock taking their opportunities in front of the media to praise the idea of a double header.

Michael Cheika was never concerned over his centres. Photo: Getty ImagesWallabies coach Michael Cheika began the week advocating for a regular Bledisloe double header and those words have reinforced to the Wallaroos a growing backing for women in rugby.

“Sometimes I wonder if they really know they’re around and how much we want those Test matches,” she says.

“For them to be really supportive in this and say should be the norm, it so should be.

“If there’s a female version of that Wallaroos why wouldn’t we be playing a double header and it should be happening more.

“More exposure, more competition, will make us stronger and making it harder to get a position in this side, it will just make us stronger.”

Burrows’ close friend and long-time teammate Rebecca Clough, was injured in Tuesday’s match, and won't line up in the match, an absence Burrows says will be felt.

Australia has not beaten New Zealand in 13 attempts, but a 21-19 win over the Auckland Storm in their warm-up match has injected some confidence into the side, Burrows says.

“There is nothing stopping us playing the best game that we have ever played,” she says.

“We haven’t got anything to lose and we really have a good opportunity, with all of our family and friends watching back home, to potentially play the best rugby we ever have.

It’s not going to be an easy encounter and the scrum and lineout will be decisive in the trans-Tasman clash, Burrows says.

Portia Woodman in action in Rio. Photo: Getty Images“It will be brutal, physical, the set piece is vital,” she says.

“I think they’ll be really up front in the scrums and put us under the pump.

“They’ll be trying to put pressure on us as an eight and that makes it hard to be in a rugby game, they’re definitely going to try and rattle us.”

The Wallaroos are the first half of an Australia-New Zealand double header at Eden Park on Saturday, with the women’s match kicking off at 3:05pm AEDT, LIVE on FOXSPORTS 502.