Karpani keeping the fun as Wallaroos look to take it to Wales

Tue, Oct 18, 2022, 8:02 PM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallaroos fullback Lori Cramer recounts how the First Nations Yugambeh anthem came to fruition.

With the pressure of the World Cup building, Wallaroos prop Eva Karpani believes maintaining the 'fun' has been vital towards her breakout performances.

Karpani stepped up for the Wallaroos when they needed it the most, producing a player-of-the-match performance to guide them to a 14-12 victory over Scotland.

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The 26-year-old has shown glimpses of her barnstorming potential, having burst onto the scene via the AON Sevens with University of Adelaide, skittling defenders with her freakish speed and strength for a tight-head prop.

However, Saturday's outing was arguably her best, taking the game on when the Wallaroos needed a spark, finishing with six tackle busts, three offloads and 11 carries for 78 metres.

When asked about the performance, Karpani believes a renewed confidence and belief has been critical, embracing the 'pack mentality' developing after two dominant outings at scrum time.

“I think what really click was our scrum and set-piece,” Karpani explained.

“We really fought as eight and back ourselves, we had a lot of pack mentality heading into the game so it was great.

“For me going into the game, I wanted to set the standard for the impact and just had fun, play footy.

“I think sometimes you just need to back your confidence and you are here for a reason. I think if you have a bit of fun, it can help you play some good footy.”

Surviving the Scotland challenge has built a new level of confidence in the Wallaroos pack.

Outside of first-half struggles with their rolling maul defence, the Australians were dominant across the park, winning the collision battles and earning multiple scrum penalties.

They are preparing for a similar outing against a Welsh side that dismantled the Black Ferns scrum, with the Kiwis conceding five penalties.

Whilst they will be without tighthead prop Donna Rose, the Wallaroos were well aware of the threat Wales possess, taking the challenge to them.

“We take huge confidence from our scrums and our set-piece,” Emily Chancellor believes.

“We know there’s still plenty of work-ons in our maul defence and attack. Our work around the park is still good and we keep working in pods, looking lethal out wide so watch out.”

“It’s still a whatever it takes attitude,” fellow back-rower Grace Kemp added. “Their pack is super strong just like us.

"They have a lot of key players that take them forward so we’re super keen to go out there and show them what Australia is made of”

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