Wallaroos seeking positives from physical opener

by Sam Phillips

The International Women's Rugby Series is all about building a platform for this year's World Cup and Wallaroos skipper Ashleigh Hewson believes her team have taken big steps forward from the loss to the Red Roses.

Hewson's Wallaroos came out of the gates flying and scored the first try of the match but it was relatively one way traffic from that point forward.

Australia excelled with ball in hand and applied plenty of pressure at the breakdown but the set piece and defence struggled with the class of the professional English outfit.

But Hewson was only taking positives from the 53-10 loss when she spoke post match.

"I don't think the scoreboard really reflected how well we actually did out there," she said.Hewson scored Australia's only try today. Photo: ARU Media/Brendan Hertel"We knew we were up for a physical game and England definitely brought that to us but we are building a platform here for Ireland and I think we are on the right track.

"I think we matched them physically - our ball runners got over the gain line and managed to bend the line every time they carried.

"They're a professional outfit so to be able to do that with the preparation that we've had is definitely a positive we will take into the next game and take into Ireland."

Coach Paul Verrell pointed to Hewson's try in the opening minutes as evidence his team could compete with the very best.

"Couldn't have asked for more from them in that first try," he said.The Wallaroos will build on today's performance. Photo: ARU Media/Brendan Hertel"Patience, 12 phases, played the patterns we asked them to do, we know we have the ability to do that, it's just the ability to do it for 80 minutes."

He admitted the set piece was a problem but said it started to come together in the second term.

"The scrum obviously needs to do a bit more work but I thought after we tightened things up at half time - a few little tricks that the opposition might have been playing on came back pretty well.

"It's just a matter of being able to do that for a whole game to give us a platform to attack from."

There was also a tendency to kick clean ball away for no particular gain, a habit Verrell wants to stamp out moving forward.

"I think patience is the key factor," he said.

"We seem to rush things - we showed with the first try that we can do that and if we are patient, maintain the ball and maintain possession, we are able to score points."

Attention now shifts to Tuesday's clash with the Black Ferns, which will prove every bit as tough as today's match.