'I’ve really found a home here': Carys Dallinger reflects on sudden Aussie call-up

Fri, May 19, 2023, 6:13 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Carys Dallinger reflects on her sudden journey to the Wallaroos. Photo: Wallaroos Media
Carys Dallinger reflects on her sudden journey to the Wallaroos. Photo: Wallaroos Media

Carys Dallinger may have only spent less than two months in Australia but the Kiwi-born flyhalf is embracing the opportunity to make her Wallaroos debut.

Dallinger will start at flyhalf in Saturday's Test against Fijiana after a breakout season with the Queensland Reds.

Don't miss out! Click here to buy tickets as the Wallaroos take on Fijiana at Allianz Stadium

"It was actually funny I was supposed to go back to New Zealand and then my manager told me they were putting a hold on my flights," she told reporters.

I asked them why and they were like ‘I think you’re going to [Wallaroos] camp next week and I was like ‘this is how I find out’ (laughs) and then I ended up getting a phone call."

Dallinger, who was born in Rotorua, is eligible for Australia through her dad (Steve) whilst her grandparents were born in England.

With the opportunity to play for three of the top nations, Dallinger ultimately feels at home in the Wallaroos set-up and was excited to pull the gold jersey on.

"It’s kind of crazy," she said.

"Dad was born here and then they moved to New Zealand and then my grandparents (who are from England) had another kid over in New Zealand. He lived here very briefly and we’ve all grown up in New Zealand. It was luck of the draw I guess.

"The Black jersey was the goal obviously growing up in New Zealand but at the end of the day, international rugby is where I need to be, it doesn’t matter where

"I’ve come in and felt really connected. The girls and the coaches have made me feel at home. I’ve really found a home here."

Dallinger admits she idolised fellow Kiwi-turned-Australian playmaker Quade Cooper growing up, who made a similar decision after moving to Australia at 13.

"Quade Cooper is one of my favourite players, even before all of this stuff came about," Dallinger said.

"I love Quade Cooper, both being 10s and both doing the same stuff. Love his side-step, love everything about him. I watched him growing up.

"He’s awesome."

The Hurricanes flyhalf could potentially find herself playing against her country of birth when the O'Reilly Cup series begins in Redcliffe next month.

"I don’t know if I can quite put it into words because I haven’t thought too much about it. When I do think about it I get quite emotional because those are my friends and people I’ve grown up playing alongside," Dallinger adds.

"It’ll be quite different but I think you’ve got to play the best to be the best so it’ll be an experience in itself."

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