After a try on debut off the bench, NSW prop Eva Karpani has been promoted into the Wallaroos’ starting team for the second Test against Japan at North Sydney Oval on Friday night.
Karpani is one of two changes to the run-on side made by Wallaroos coach Dwayne Nestor, with Queensland back Lori Cramer also elevated from the bench onto the left wing.
WA speedster Mhicca Carter has gone back to the bench, and Queensland prop Christina Sekona has also been named among the reserves for a possible Test debut.
The Wallaroos will be looking to sweep Japan in the two-game series on Friday night after beating the visitors 34-5 in the first Test in Newcastle last weekend.
Nestor said the changes were a chance to give Karpani and Cramer an opportunity for more minutes as he looks ahead toward the New Zealand tests, and the 2021 World Cup.
"Not to say that Evi Horomia did anything wrong, she had a really good game but we are looking at succession plan there and gibing Eva an opportunity to start," Nestor said.
"That was largely looking at that succession plan, and that is important for us looking to the 2021 (World Cup).
"One reason (for Cramer's inclusion) was goal-kicking, she has probably been the best goal-kicker we had during the camp. And just to give her an opportunity to start a game as well, so once again we can build a bit of depth and experience in that back three."
Nestor said the Wallaroos would be much better for the run after the first Test, and said the focus would be to finish off opportunities created in attack.
"One message we gave to the girls is 'we don’t mind mistakes because it means you’re trying stuff, it is when the effort lacks that we’ll get cranky'," Nestor said.
"And we didn’t have to worry about that because the effort is pretty good. We know we have created opportunities in attack and hopefully we will be able to finish a few more off on Friday night.
"I asked for more Test matches last year and we have more Test mtches. The more we play the better we are going to be and I really do feel our rate of progress is going to be quite a bit steeper than some of the other teams, some of the top-ranked teams. We’ll catch up quick."
After a successful first Test experience in Newcastle, Nestor said he expected the standalone Test at North Sydney Oval would be a great occasion.
"People know the history of North Sydney Oval and I have had the privilege of coaching a team there in the NRC - it was a good vibe, beautiful venue and led to believe the weather is going to be quite nice. So it’ll be an ideal night to come out and watch a bit of good footy," he said.
The Wallaroos take on Japan in the second Test at North Sydney Oval, Friday, at 7pm. The match will be broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and Kayo as well as LIVE on RUGBY.com.au Radio.
WALLAROOS V JAPAN
1.Emily Robinson, Warringah, NSW Waratahs Women, 8 caps
2. Averyl Mitchell, Souths (Brisbane), Queensland Women’s XV, 1 cap
3. Eva Karpani, Randwick, NSW Waratahs Women, 1 cap
4. Michaela Leonard, Vikings, Brumbies Women, 1 cap
5. Alisha Hewett, GPS/ADFRU, Queensland Women’s XV, 19 caps
6. Millie Boyle, (vc), Royals (Canberra), Queensland Women’s XV, 9 caps
7. Emily Chancellor, Sydney University, NSW Waratahs Women, 3 caps
8. Grace Hamilton (c), Sydney University, NSW Waratahs Women, 12 caps
9. Cobie-Jane Morgan, Sunnybank, Queensland Women’s XV, 19 caps
10. Trilleen Pomare, Kalamunda, Rugby WA Women, 8 caps
11. Lori Cramer, University of Queensland, Queensland Women’s XV, 1 cap
12. Ariana Hira Herangi, Kalamunda, Rugby WA Women, 1 cap
13. Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, Sunnybank, Queensland Women’s XV, 1 cap
14. Samantha Treherne, Sunnybank, Queensland Women’s XV, 11 caps
15. Mahalia Murphy, Campbelltown/Maitland, NSW Waratahs Women, 8 caps
16. Ashley Marsters, Harlequins, Melbourne Rebels Women, 7 caps
17. Liz Patu, Wests, Queensland Women’s XV, 20 caps
18. Christina Sekona*, Sunnybank, Queensland Women’s XV
19. Rebecca Clough, Cottesloe, Rugby WA Women, 21 caps
20. Shannon Mato, Sunnybank, Queensland Women’s XV, 1 cap
21. Georgia Cormick, Power House, Melbourne Rebels Women, 1 cap
22. Arabella McKenzie, Randwick, NSW Waratahs Women, 1 cap
23. Mhicca Carter, Cottesloe, Rugby WA Women, 3 caps