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Wallaroos not scared by Black Ferns World Cup pool of death

Fri, 20/11/2020, 2:46 am
by AAP
Wallaroos coach Dwayne Nester says he will look at including players from the women's sevens team for his World Cup bid. Photo: Getty Images
Wallaroos coach Dwayne Nester says he will look at including players from the women's sevens team for his World Cup bid. Photo: Getty Images

The Wallaroos could tap into Australia's Olympic Sevens players as they look to conquer reigning champions New Zealand after drawing the hosts in the 2021 Rugby World Cup.

The Australians are in Pool A with the five-time champions, who they have never beaten, and also Wales, plus the team that wins the final qualifying tournament.

Top-ranked England and France, seeded fourth, have been drawn together in Pool C alongside Fiji and South Africa for the September-October tournament.

Third-ranked Canada and inaugural champions, the United States, will be in Pool B for the 12-team competition which will be held in the southern hemisphere for the first time.

Wallaroos coach Dwayne Nestor said no pool was easy, with his side looking to improve on their sixth-placed finish in 2017.

"It's not going to be anything new with us playing the Kiwis and Wales have just picked up a new coach in Warren Abrahams and then the qualifier," Nestor said on Friday.

"If you want to win a World Cup, you're looking at winning every game regardless of who gets put in your pool.

"I said to the girls a couple of years ago, 'we will beat the Black Ferns' and if it happens to be at the World Cup that will be a nice environment to do it in."

The Australian women have only just got back into action with Super W cut short, while their nine internationals this year were also casualties of COVID-19.

Nestor felt they were still well-placed and could be further strengthened with players from the Sevens program, who will defend their Olympic gold medal in the delayed Tokyo Games.

He mentioned the likes of Shannon Parry, Sharni Williams, Rhiannon Byers and Charlotte Caslick.

"There is an opportunity to have access to some Sevens players ... and we will definitely be looking at them," he said.

"We are open-minded about picking the best Wallaroos team but at the same time the girls that we have in our squad, and in positions that would match up to some of those Sevens players, are good footy players.

"It puts us into a good situation as we have a growing pool of very talented footballers across both games."


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Wallaroos captain Grace Hamilton says the extra competition for spots was a good thing.

"If we want to beat the best we've got to pick the best players in Australia," Hamilton said.

"The girls who are in the squad at the moment need to take that opportunity with two hands ... I think it will fuel the fire for us to get better."   

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