SQUAD NEWS: Hamilton to captain Wallaroos in July Test series

Womens International
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

When Grace Hamilton was told she would be the next Wallaroos captain, the usually outspoken backrower had no words.

Wallaroos coach Dwayne Nestor called Hamilton and slipped the decision into the conversation, leaving the 27-year-old gobsmacked.

"I was doing my last assignment for my Masters (of Education) so I sat in my room alone basically crying for half an hour before I called my dad," she said.

"I was pretty overwhelmed and then after that, I don't know how I completed my last assignment but got through.

"He kind of just threw it in the middle of the conversation.

"I kind of was lost for words and normally I have a lot of words but I was lost for words, so it was really special."

Australia is one of two countries bidding for the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup. Photo: Getty ImagesHamilton will lead a 29-player squad, that includes 11 potential debutants, into a two-Test series against Japan next month.

The Wallaroos will play four Tests this season, including three on home soil, in one of their biggest schedules in a non-World Cup year yet.

Hamilton has become one of the mainstays of the national side since debuting against the Black Ferns in 2017 and has already established herself as one of the leaders in the group.

Queensland women make up almost half the squad, with 13 players from this year's Super W runners-up in the squad, including exciting teenager Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea.

Nine NSW women are in the 29-woman squad, with four from WA, two from the Rebels and one from the ACT.

Wallaroos back Mahalia Murphy said Hamilton would be a great skipper.

"I'm so excited for her - Grace is a great leader and I think she's always had that leadership attitude amongst the team and she's always been very helpful in terms of helping the girls in the squad with anything on field and off-field."

Grace Hamilton has been one of the form Wallaroos since making her debut. Photo: Getty ImagesWhile she was only announced as captain on Friday, Hamilton was quick to set some high expectations for the team as they embark on their international season.

"We just want to spend some time together, get our structures right and at the end of the day we want to win," she said.

"That's why we're here and I think we do have a really good shot at this. We've just got to create that and everyone needs to have that common purpose of what we want to achieve."

Murphy said the two Japan Tests would be handy to build momentum heading into the two Black Ferns matches.

"Last year from playing New Zealand, I think we spent about two weeks before we played New Zealand and we spent another week after that leading into the next game and I think that showed how much we can improve if we spend as much time as we can together leading into games," she said.

"Hopefully in the future we can spend more time and have more camps together as a squad to help us bond together and get around each other know how we all play and each other's strengths and all that."

Dwayne Nestor has laughed off Kiwi criticism. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyNestor said there were no easy calls to make in trimming the extended squad down, after months of state-based training.

"I’d like to congratulate every player on being selected in the squad for what is going to be a massive series against Japan this July," he said.

“There were some really difficult selections to be made, but that is a testament to the work ethic of the extended squad and the real depth we are growing following on from the second season of Buildcorp Super W. 

“Grace (Hamilton) is going to make a fantastic captain in 2019, she’s passionate about this team, passionate about rugby, has a strong drive to win and to set high standards. 

“Humble and hardworking she embodies what we want this to team to be about and I know she will be supported by a strong leadership team. 

“The hard work is only just beginning, as we have a massive opportunity this year with the Tests scheduled and I know the squad is looking forward to getting into camp in Newcastle on July 6.”  

In a significant development for women's rugby as well, fans will be able to buy Wallaroos merchandise for the first time this year.

The Wallaroos take on Japan in a two-Test series in July, with the opener on July 13 at Newcastle Sportsground no. 2 and the second at North Sydney Oval on July 19. Buy tickets here.

SQUAD

Wallaroos squad for Japan Series

Millie Boyle, Royals (Canberra), Queensland Women's XV

Emily Chancellor, Sydney University, NSW Waratahs Women 

Rebecca Clough, Cottesloe, Rugby WA Women  

Grace Hamilton, Sydney University, NSW Waratahs Women 

Alisha Hewett, GPS/ADFRU, Queensland Women's XV 

Evelyn Horomia, Western Sydney, NSW Waratahs Women

Asoiva (Eva) Karpani*, Randwick, NSW Waratahs Women

Michaela Leonard*, Vikings, Brumbies Women 

Kiri Lingman, Sunnybank, Queensland Women's XV 

Ashley Marsters, Harlequins, Melbourne Rebels Women 

Shannon Mato*, Sunnybank, Queensland Women's XV 

Averyl Mitchell*, Souths, Queensland Women's XV 

Sera Naiqama*, Sydney University, NSW Waratahs Women  

Liz Patu, Wests, Queensland Women's XV

Emily Robinson, Warringah, NSW Waratahs Women 

Christina Sekona*, Sunnybank, Queensland Women's XV 

Backs 

Mhicca Carter, Cottesloe, Rugby WA Women 

Georgia Cormick*, Powerhouse, Melbourne Rebels Women 

Lori Cramer*, University of Queensland, Queensland Women's XV 

Ariana Hira-Herangi*, Kalamunda, Rugby WA Women 

Chloe Leaupepe, Warringah, NSW Waratahs Women 

Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea*, Sunnybank, Queensland Women's XV

Cobie-Jane Morgan, Sunnybank, Queensland Women's XV 

Arabella McKenzie*, Randwick, NSW Waratahs Women  

Mahalia Murphy, Campbelltown, NSW Waratahs Women 

Asako Ono*, University of Queensland, Queensland Women's XV 

Trilleen Pomare, Kalamunda, Rugby WA Women 

Sarah Riordan, Wests/ADFRU, Queensland Women's XV 

Samantha Treherne, Sunnybank, Queensland Women's XV

*Denotes Uncapped