Wallaroos hope injured Riordan will play in second Test

The Rugby Championship
by Sarah Friend

The world will have to wait another week to see rising Wallaroos star Sarah Riordan unleashed against the Black Ferns.

The unlucky Australian vice-captain was set to play in the centres in the Wallaroos Test against New Zealand on Saturday but Riordan injured her ankle in a freak training mishap on Wednesday.

There were hopes the 26-year-old would recover but Riordan was left off the team list when coach Dwayne Nestor named his side to play for the Laurie O'Reilly Memorial Trophy on Saturday.

Uncapped Crystal Maguire will make her debut in the inside centre role, slotting into Sarah’s position.

She took it pretty hard early on but Sarah being Sarah, it was about the team," Nestor said.

"She was sad but it’s an opportunity for Crystal to come in there and show what she can do.

"I really felt for Sarah because from a leadership point of view and seeing her I really got to know her during the World Cup last year and she has matured so much as a person and a rugby player.

"I sort of looked at an opportunity just to unleash her on the world, but she’ll be back. We’re doing our darndest to get her back for next week.”

Among the nine new faces slipping on the gold jersey for the first time on Saturday is sevens young gun Shanice Parker, 20, on the bench.

“Shanice Parker’s probably one that she probably be thanking her lucky stars, because she finished the Super W and she needed to get her head right for the game," he said.

"She had a bit of a blockage, she wasn’t really enjoying the game so much so we just kept in contact with her we let her have some time off and then she came back to us and said you know I want to play some rugby. We’re open to giving the girls the opportunity.

"It’s not a closed book, she came back she worked really hard, and she’s shown that she was ready to play some good footy."

“She’s end up being picked on the bench and she’ll play a role on Saturday night absolutely.

"We’ve got a bench we’re expecting to come onto the field and make a huge impact and she’s one of those."

Regardless of the outcome Nestor believes his side can perform with distinction against the world champion Black Ferns.

“We’ve got some strengths in our team that we think we can play to, and we know what the Black Ferns did at the World Cup last year," Nestor said.

"We don’t see any disadvantages or advantages we’ve just got some ideas that we think will work and hopefully they’ll pay off."

The Wallaroos named their team on Thursday for the Test against the Black Ferns.

The Wallaroos take on the Black Ferns  for the Laurie O'Reilly Cup from 5:15pm AEST at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, 18 August, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. The Wallabies also host the All Blacks in the first Bledisoe Cup game, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST. LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.