No slacking off for Wallaroos

Womens Rugby World Cup
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

They’ve locked in 2021 World Cup qualification, but Wallaroos assistant Scott Allen says the side is far from satisfied heading into a fifth-place play off against Canada.

Australia’s fifth-place semi-final win over Ireland meant they had a chance to play off for fifth against the world heavyweights, as well as securing them qualification for the next tournament, but Allen said that hadn’t dimmed their motivation.

“One of the risks when you get to the last match of the tournament, is everyone’s a bit tired, people are getting a bit homesick but we’re not seeing any signs of that,” he said.

“The team’s very positive, they all have a goal they want to achieve.

“It’s not a matter of (thinking) we’ve already achieved something by qualfying for the World Cup and now we can afford to relax.

“The girls are working towards a target.”

Sunday morning’s playoff against Canada will be another litmus test for the Wallaroos, who played the North Americans in June, going down 45-5.

Allen said he was confident the story would be very different this time around.

“We had a bad week in the lead-up to that game against Canada in New Zealand, a few things didn't go our way, a few injuries, a few changes to the squad,” he said.

“We certainly don't think we put on a very good performance in New Zealand against them. we were working on something that didn't work out.

“The girls are very determined to show the rest of the world what we can do against a top three (world-ranked) side.”

The key to success for Australia will be making the most of the advantages their forwards have opened up, with the Wallaroos leading the way in gainline statistics through the competition.

“We're starting to take advantage of the hard work the forwards are doing,” Allen said.

“The more we show the girls the clips of them doing it well, the more we show them the stats, particularly the World Rugby stats that are showing we're the leading team getting over the gainline at the moment, the more they gain confidence in what we've been working with them on.

“Now we've just got to take some real pay against a real tough side in Canada.

Winger Mahalia Murphy said the squad was determined to finish on a high.

“The girls are pumped  to fight for the fifth spot and I have faith in the girls and getting the best result we can,” she said.

The Wallaroos take on Canada on Sunday morning, kicking off at 2am AEST LIVE on FOXSPORTS.