Wallaroos back teenage dynamo Lefau-Fakaosilea to handle Test heat

Womens International
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea might be the youngest player in the Wallaroos squad but attack coach Peter Breen says it’s easy to forget the teenage dynamo is just 18.

Lefau-Fakaosilea is in line to make her Test debut on Saturday afternoon in Newcastle and though she’s a fresh face, the youngster is already familiar to many rugby fans.

The teenager lit up the 2018 Brisbane Tens with impressive performances for Queensland in the truncated formate and followed that form up with consistency in the Super W.

After moving from New Zealand midway through high school, Lefau-Fakaosilea only recently became officially eligible to play for her adopted home.

Newly-installed Wallaroos attack coach Breen said she was one of the most exciting weapons in the squad and it was simply a matter of giving her the freedom to maximise her arsenal. 

“She's a hugely exciting talent and the good thing about Alysia is she's such a team person first so it's almost a matter of getting her in the mindset of being attacking weapon, taking those opportunities that come to her,” he said.

“As a young player she's going to be around for a few years, so excited to see her game grow but she's already at a really high level.”

Many who have seen the inside back in action would find it hard to believe she is just 18 - born just eight months after rising men's XVs star Jordan Petaia - and Breen said even the staff sometimes forgot that small fact.

“When you speak to her and we have one on ones, she's got a great rugby brain and IQ so it definitely is something you can forget,” he said.

“She's also physically one of the stronger girls on the field, so she's really exciting for the group and if we can develop her as a rugby player and build on her experiences that she’s had already, she's going to be a real player of the future.”

Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea in Wallaroos camp this week. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThat maturity will only be an asset for Lefau-Fakaosilea should she be selected for Saturday’s clash, with Breen confident she would easily be able to handle the Test arena.

“She'll just keep doing what she's done,” he said.

“She takes everything in her stride and I think she doesn't overthink things too much and she's got a lot of experience around her in the backline with the caps we have there.

“We've definitely loaded her up with enough knowledge to know that all she has to worry about is doing her job and that'll be fine.”

Lefau-Fakaosilea is one of 11 potential debutants in the 29-player squad that has been training in Newcastle this week, ahead of Saturday’s first Test against Japan.

The group had a closed hitout against the Japanese side on Tuesday ahead of their opening Test.

Australia beat Japan the last time they played, with a 29-15 victory in the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2017.

The Wallaroos host Japan on Saturday July 13 at Newcastle No. 2 Sportsgound kicking off at 3pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Kayo and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. They will play a second Test at North Sydney Oval on July 19. Buy tickets here.