Wallaroos say Tests against Japan ideal preparation for Black Ferns

International
by Emma Greenwood

Wallaroos half Cobie-Jane Morgan says Australia's two-Test series against Japan will serve as the ideal preparation for clashes against the Black Ferns later this season.

The Wallaroos kick off their Test season in Newcastle on Saturday with the first of two matches against Japan and honed their preparation with an opposed session against the visitors on Tuesday.

The team has a recovery session at the chilly Merewether Baths on Wednesday.

The three 20-minute periods helped the Wallaroos cement their combinations in their first major run together of the season.

"Basically it was just to sort out our combinations and coming together after a pretty strong season of Super W, for the coaches' and the players' perspective to get the right combinations coming into the Test match," Morgan said. 

While clashes against the Black Ferns - scheduled as double-headers with the Wallabies and All Blacks in Perth and Auckland next month - may be their main goal, Morgan said the Wallaroos were paying Japan plenty of respect.

"From experience, (extra Test matches during ahead of the Bledisloe Tests) is something that we've never really had, so going into the Test matches  against New Zealand, it's been really good having that hitout against Japan," Morgan said.

"But (Japan) is our focus at the moment."

The Asian champions will punish Australia if they are not on their game though, something the Wallaroos learned from the opposed session.

"They're pretty strong around the breakdown, I guess we knew that with their body frames, they're very strong and they're quick and they like to recycle the ball fast," Morgan said.

Morgan's Queensland teammate Millie Boyle said the Wallaroos were likely to use their size advantage over the Japanese to make ground through the middle of the field.

"It was good to get a little hitout against them," said Boyle, who headed into camp with the Wallaroos at the weekend fresh from a rugby league appearance with NSW in the women's State of Origin.

"They're quite a professional side and they're fit and they spread the ball quite fast, so it'll be good to play them on Saturday.

 

"It was nice to get the girls that haven't played before in that Test-style rugby a little taste of it."

The Wallaroos face Japan in Tests at Newcastle and North Sydney Oval before their matches against New Zealand in Perth and Auckland.

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.