They are women’s Rugby’s ‘Three Sisters’, the rock solid pillars on which the Wallaroos’ will build their Rugby World Cup campaign in New Zealand next month.
Skipper Shannon Parry, backrower Emily Chancellor and centre Georgina Friedrichs have all demonstrated their immense value to the Australian side and are sure to attract plenty of attention in their opening tournament game against hosts, New Zealand, at Eden Park on October 8.
Chancellor is really hitting her straps at the right time, with coach Jay Tregonning saying she probably had her best game of the year when the spirited Wallaroos went down to the Black Ferns 22-14 in their most recent Test in Adelaide.
“She was just getting comfortable playing in a No.6 jersey, not her traditional No.7 jersey,” Tregonning said. “She had an outstanding game in Adelaide.”
Fellow backrower Parry continues to lead from the front and perform to a high standard every time she pulls on the Wallaroos’ jumper.
“That means sometimes she doesn’t receive the recognition that she deserves. She is always topping the tackle count and topping the tackle percentage count, in regards to not missing many,” Tregonning added.
“She is always putting her body on the line trying to get her body over the ball. And at training she comes out bruised and battered.”
In the backs No.13 Friedrichs, who likes to model her game on All Blacks legend Ma’a Nonu, has been terrific and a potent weapon for the Wallaroos.
There is genuine anticipation every time she gets her hands on the ball that it will spark something special in attack.
“Georgina has been a consistent performer for us in every Test match this year and she is definitely leading the way in the backs,” the coach said.
“She has been one of the best in every Test we have played.”
He said that all three are great leaders - and that only adds to their value in the team, especially under the pressure that will come from playing in a Rugby World Cup.
The 32-player Wallaroos World Cup squad has also been bolstered by the addition of two very good players from the Australian Sevens squad – up and coming speedster Bienne Terita and the old hand Sharni Williams.
Terita demonstrated that she is a player with genuine ‘X-factor’ when she crossed for two tries in her Wallaroos debut on the wing against the Black Ferns in Adelaide.
She will certainly be one to watch in New Zealand and has the potential to emerge as one of the stars of the tournament.
“She was disappointed she got left out of the Commonwealth Games squad,” Tregonning said.
The 19-year-old has put a lot of effort into making the transition to the 15-a-side game and that has paid off with a spot in the Aussie RWC squad.
“Athletically she has been outstanding, it was just developing that tactical awareness and she worked really hard at that - lots of homework, lots of chats with other players,” the coach said.
“She came out and embraced the opportunity in Adelaide.”
Terita’s first try was the culmination of a good team effort, but the one near the end of the game was a moment to savour as she exhibited her individual talent.
“It showed that bit of athleticism, she broke a few tackles and stormed through to the try She’s definitely got the ability to change the game for us, she’s definitely got the ability to change the game for us,” Tregonning said.
“There is that good, youthful enthusiasm and she has fitted in really well with the girls.”
The experience of centre Williams will be a real benefit, especially for the younger Wallaroos, as she has played in three previous Rugby World Cups.
As Tregonning said: “She is someone who will contribute massively on and off the field.”
The Wallaroos head into the RWC getting a big confidence boost from the performance against in the Black Ferns in Adelaide, which was a big turnaround from their previous encounter in Christchurch when New Zealand won 52-5.
“Get a few things right and do a few things differently and the score is even closer,” Tregonning said.
Heading into that Adelaide game the Wallaroos focussed on winning the race in attack and defence as well as getting back to a more physical approach. More of the same can be expected in New Zealand.
“The team is shaping nicely,” Tregonning said. ”Obviously the opening game against the Black Ferns at Eden Park is going to be a huge occasion for everyone and I pretty sure it is a sell-out.
“With Scotland and Wales in our pool our goal is making the quarter-finals, and winning two of the three games guarantees that spot. After that, anything can happen.”
In the current world rankings, the All Blacks are second, the Wallaroos seventh, Wales ninth and the Scottish women 10th. Just hours before the first Bledisloe clash in Melbourne the Wallaroos had an important hit-out themselves, playing an internal game at the squad’s training base at Bond University on the Gold Coast.
Performances could turn out to be very significant for any number of squad members.
“It will be players working hard to put themselves into a position for selection in the first Test of the World Cup,” Tregonning said prior to the match.
“We’ve always said we want training to be competitive and hard and selection is based around what we do at training.
“It’s also an opportunity for us to experiment a little bit with the playing positions and team make-up.”
With the camp finishing on Friday, the players will have a week away to go home and reconnect with their families before they head away for an extended period and have the unforgettable experience of representing their country in a Rugby World Cup.