Wallaroos suffer Lafai blow as they prepare for Wales test

Fri, Oct 21, 2022, 1:25 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallaroos fullback Lori Cramer recounts how the First Nations Yugambeh anthem came to fruition.

The Wallaroos have suffered a major blow, losing lock Atasi Lafai to an ankle injury on the eve of their must-win clash with Wales in Whangarei.

Lafai has been a consistent member of Tregonning's side since returning from a collarbone injury, making her debut in Adelaide.

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The 28-year-old has started in every game since then, including the opening two matches of Rugby World Cup 2021 against New Zealand and Wales.

Grace Kemp comes into the starting side, completing an all-Brumby second-row with Michaela Leonard.

Kaitlan Leaney has been added to the bench for her Rugby World Cup debut.

"Unfortunately Atasi Lafai has suffered an ankle injury at training this week and has been ruled out of our third and final #RWC21 pool game against Wales on Saturday," the Wallaroos said in a statement via social media.

"We wish Atasi a speedy recovery."

The Wallaroos is still guided by their 'whatever it take' mantra, with their dreams of a quarter-final berth in their own hands.

However, this week it has taken a slight shift as the side looks to 'earn the right' to be playing in the knockouts.

Whilst a loss will likely still see them qualify as one of two third-place finishes, the squad are refusing to focus on anything but getting a win in their final pool match.

“We are building every week,” back-rower Piper Duck said.

“Last week was hopefully something small that we’ve shown what we can do. Coming up against Wales, they are a similar side (to Scotland) to an extent, so it’s given us time to prepare.

“Earn the right is about earning it at training, at Test match Tuesday, earn the right to perform and be there for one another.

“Every week is a genuine competition (for spots) and we wouldn’t have it any other way. When you are playing at the International level, you want those competitions. You want someone behind you pushing you or gunning for someone’s spot because that’s just brings everyone up and our standard up, benefiting our country and nation.”

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