Wallaroos name team to face Black Ferns in second O'Reilly Cup match

Thu, Sep 28, 2023, 5:53 AM
Rugby Australia
by Rugby Australia
Leilani Nathan will make her debut for the Wallaroos
Leilani Nathan will make her debut for the Wallaroos

Buildcorp Wallaroos head coach Jay Tregonning has named his side to face New Zealand on Saturday in the second and final O'Reilly Cup match for 2023.

The starting XV that will take the field at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton is headlined by four changes from the lineup that featured in Australia’s last-start loss to Canada in July.

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Sera Naiqama has been named alongside captain Michaela Leonard in the second row, with Kaitlan Leaney shifting blindside flanker.

Ashley Marsters will start at number 8 while Emily Chancellor will resume her usual position at openside flanker.

The final change sees experienced campaigner Trilleen Pomare return to the starting side, named in the centres alongside Georgina Friedrichs.

An unchanged starting front row combination features props Bree-Anna Cheatham and Eva Karpani, and Adiana Talakai at hooker.

The crafty Layne Morgan and Carys Dallinger will once again combine in the halves – the same combination that steered the Wallaroos in their last encounter with New Zealand in June.

“The team’s last performance against the Black Ferns was a long time ago now but we’ve taken the learnings from that game and want to produce a positive result this Saturday,” Tregonning said. 

“At our camp in Brisbane, the squad has been focused on lifting their intensity and work rate to match the gameplan we want to execute out on the field.”

Ivania Wong and Maya Stewart will offer speed and evasiveness on the wings with Lori Cramer in behind at fullback. 

23-year-old Leilani Nathan has been named among the reserves and if called upon, would earn her first Wallaroos cap. 

The Waratahs backrower has enjoyed a meteoric rise since debuting in the 2023 Super W season, with her breakout season culminating in being named the Waratahs Women’s Rookie of the Year. 

“The team is extremely excited for the potential debut of Leilani Nathan off the bench this weekend," Tregonning said. 

“Since debuting for the Waratahs earlier this year, Nathan has progressed remarkably quickly and has many attributes that will improve our squad on the field.”

Skilled 18-year-old outside back Faitala Moleka and experienced pair Emily Robinson and Cecilia Smith are also among the reserves. 

The match will be shown live, ad-free, and on-demand on Stan Sport. Wallaroos vs. New Zealand FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton 4.35pm NZDT (1.35pm AEST) Saturday 30 September 1. Bree-Anna Cheatham - five caps 2. Adiana Talakai - 12 caps 3. Eva Karpani - 17 caps 4. Sera Naiqama - 10 caps 5. Michaela Leonard (c) - 18 caps 6. Kaitlan Leaney - 11 caps 7. Emily Chancellor - 19 caps 8. Ashley Marsters - 23 caps 9. Layne Morgan - 15 caps 10. Carys Dallinger - two caps 11. Ivania Wong - 11 caps 12. Trilleen Pomare - 23 caps 13. Georgina Friedrichs -15 caps 14. Maya Stewart - five caps 15. Lori Cramer - 17 caps Reserves 16. Tania Naden - six caps 17. Emily Robinson - 21 caps 18. Bridie O’Gorman 15 caps 19. Leilani Nathan - uncapped 20. Tabua Tuinakauvadra - three caps 21. Jasmin Huriwai - four caps 22. Cecilia Smith - eight caps 23. Faitala Moleka - two caps

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