Wallaroos skipper wants to silence Irish at World Cup

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Shannon Parry co-captained Australia to Sevens Olympic gold and now she is set to lead the Wallaroos at next month’s World Cup.

Parry hasn’t played for the Wallaroos since the 2014 tournament, and said she was surprised to receive the call-up to take the captaincy.

“I was more than happy to just be amongst the squad and be in there having not played XVs since the last world cup, which is a long time between games,” she said.

“When I got the phone call I was surprised but it's been well received amongst the girls.

“That's something I was a bit hesitant about, a girl coming back in and getting the captaincy.

“I've got a lot of respect for those girls and I have no doubt they will help me get the team in the right direction and we'll put on the result we need to on the park.”

Parry’s Sevens co-captain Sharni Williams and her Wallaroos predecessor Ash Hewson are both also in the World Cup squad, inclusions that make that leadership role less daunting.

Australia faces host nation Ireland in their first pool match of the tournament, one that has sold out and the relatively young Wallaroos side will need all of Parry’s and Williams’ big game experience to draw on.

“I think for us, as leaders, it's about making those critical decisions at critical moments to put the team in the best position and that's what it's going to come down to, it's going to come down to a game of inches,” she said.

“It's going to come to controlling that first 20 minutes , getting the crowd silent and if you silence the crowd, you're going to go a long way to winning that game.

“For us it'll be about staying composed, making the right decisions and taking those youngsters along with us as we go.”

The Wallaroos will go into the tournament with more eyes watching than ever before, partly due to Australia’s Sevens success but also the addition of sponsorship and corporate funding.

It’s just the beginning, though, Parry said, with ongoing success at both Sevens and XVs the next step to changing the sporting tide.

“In 10 years time I want to see girls playing rugby over netball,” she said.

“I want them to be choosing that, i want it to be a socially acceptable sport where girls aren't frowned upon for playing it.

“That's something that we're striving towards.

“The more we win, the more we get our faces out there in the media in positive light. It's only going to encourage the youngsters to play footy, which is what we want.” 

Australia opens its World Cup campaign on August 10 against Ireland, kicking off at 4am AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS.