Marsters out, Wilks in line for debut as Wallaroos name Les Bleus squad

Wallaroos coach Jay Tregonning has made four changes from last week's England Test with try-scorer Ashely Marsters missing selection. Picture: Getty
Wallaroos coach Jay Tregonning has made four changes from last week's England Test with try-scorer Ashely Marsters missing selection. Picture: Getty

Ashley Marsters will miss the Wallaroos’ WXV1 clash with France while uncapped Queenslander Melanie Wilks is in line for a potential Test debut on Saturday.

Wallaroos coach Jay Tregonning has made four changes from the side beaten by England last week with Sera Naiqama, Desiree Miller, Leilani Nathan and Wilks joining the match-day 23 to face Les Bleus in Dunedin.

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“Responding from the game against England and showing good execution against France is our priority," Tregonning said.

“France had a good win over the Black Ferns in Wellington last weekend and we expect them to be full of confidence but we’re confident in our gameplan as well".

The inclusion of lock Naiqama and winger Miller are straight swaps for Annabelle Codey (suspension) and Maya Stewart (concussion) while Nathan replaces Marsters as a backrow finisher despite the Rebel’s impressive showing against England.

Both Marsters and veteran back Lori Cramer were considered for selection, however Tregonning said neither were "at 100 per cent" and would be revisited for inclusion against Wales next week.

Wilks’ inclusion caps a long journey through Caboolture Snakers, Queensland 7s and a six-year stint at Bond University, with whom she has won consecutive Queensland Premier Women’s titles.

“We’ve obviously had to make a number of forced changes to the line-up, and we feel Wilks has earned the opportunity following her performance in training,” Tregonning said.

“She has been around the Wallaroos group for a number of years and part of several touring squads without getting an opportunity to pull on the Wallaroos Jersey, it is an exciting time for her and recognition of the hard work she has continued to put in over a number of years.”

Up front, Brianna Hoy, Tania Naden and Eva Karpani retain their starting roles ahead of Bree-Anna Cheatham, Adiana Talakai and Emily Robinson with Pesi Palu, Emily Chancellor and Kaitlan Leaney unchanged in the backrow.

Layne Morgan and Carys Dallinger will reprise their halves pairing, as will Arabella McKenzie and Georgina Friedrichs in the centres. Ivania Wong and Faitala Moleka are unchanged on the wing and at fullback.

On the pine, Atasi Lafai and Nathan provide lock and backrow cover with Sarah Dougherty and Cecilia Smith retained alongside Reds teammate Wilks as backline finishers.

Wallaroos team to play France at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin on Saturday 28 October, 5:00pm AEDT

Starters

1.  Brianna Hoy – 1 cap

2.  Tania Naden – 7 caps

3.  Eva Karpani – 19 caps

4.  Sera Naiqama – 11 caps

5.  Michaela Leonard (c) – 19 caps

6.  Siokapesi Palu – 4 caps

7.  Emily Chancellor – 21 caps

8.  Kaitlan Leaney – 13 caps

9.  Layne Morgan – 17 caps

10.  Carys Dallinger – 4 caps

11.  Ivania Wong – 13 caps

12.  Arabella McKenzie – 19 caps

13.  Georgina Friedrichs – 17 caps

14.  Desiree Miller – 1 cap

15.  Faitala Moleka – 4 caps

Finishers

16.  Adiana Talakai – 14 caps

17.  Bree-Anna Cheatham – 7 caps

18.  Emily Robinson – 23 caps

19.  Atasi Lafai – 7 caps

20.  Leilani Nathan - 1 cap

21.  Sarah Dougherty – 1 cap

22.  Cecilia Smith – 10 caps

23.  Melanie Wilks - uncapped

BUILDCORP WALLAROOS WXV1 FIXTURES

Wallaroos 7 def by v England 42 on Friday 20 October, Sky Stadium, Wellington

Wallaroos v France, 5:00pm (AEDT), Saturday 28 October, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

Wallaroos v Wales, 5:00pm (AEDT), Friday 3 November, Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

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