Wallaroos vs Ireland: Five things we learned

Womens Rugby World Cup
by Sam Phillips

The Wallaroos were felled by a physical, professional Irish outfit in their World Cup opener this morning.

Here's what we're talking about after the 19-17 loss.

1. Perfect Parry

An incredible performance from Shannon Parry.

If there was a pilfer opportunity at the breakdown, she was there.

If there was a cover tackle to be made, she was there.

If someone had to put their hand up for a carry, she was there.

Set an example for her teammates by still working as hard defensively in the final minute as she did in the first after scoring the try that put the Wallaroos briefly in front and snatching the pilfer that got them back in it with eight to play.

A true captain's knock.

2. Hardy Hamilton

Grace Hamilton put in a huge shift. Photo: ARU MediaGrace Hamilton matched Parry's thirst for work in a huge performance.

She pumps her legs through contact and that almost always leads to carries over the gain line.

Add that to some huge hits on defence and you have a player capable of bending the line on either side of the ball.

Parry, Hamilton and Mollie Gray were all instrumental in the back row - they can only get better as they build their combination.

3. Lineout loses control

The lineout had some serious problems. Photo: Getty ImagesThere were two elements of the game which proved costly today.

The first of those two was the malfunctioning lineout, which gave Ireland a free pass back into the match.

Throws from Cheyenne Campbell to the middle and back pod fell short and that allowed the Irish locks, namely Marie Louise Reilly, to pick off Australian ball with ease.

The scrum was near perfect - with just a couple of blown feeds early - but the lack of reliability from the lineout was a major factor in the loss.

4. Goal kicking proves key

With regular sharpshooter Ashleigh Hewson sitting on the pine, kicking duties were left in the hands of Samantha Treherne.

Unfortunately, Treherne missed two very kickable conversions and in the end that proved very, very costly.

Coach Paul Verrell will need to determine whether this was just a bad day off the tee for Trehere or whether he will need to bring Hewson back into the side, as it ended up being the difference between winning and losing today.

5. Halves, centres shine

The injection of a new halves combination was crucial to this stellar Wallaroos performance.

Katrina Barker was fantastic at halfback and Trilleen Pomare was superb in her Test debut.

That pair provided clean, consistent ball from which Sharni Williams and Kayla Sauvao were able to shine.

Williams is tremendously balanced for a woman with such a sharp turn of foot and Sauvao, when given a head of steam, breaks first up tackles without fail.