THREE debutants named as Wallaroos ring changes for Red Roses

Waratahs prop Brianna Hoy will become Wallaroo #203 after being named at loosehead prop to face England in Australia’s WXV1 opener on Friday afternoon.

Wallaroos head coach Jay Tregonning unveiled a new-look side to tackle the Red Roses with Queensland halfback Sarah Dougherty and Waratahs kicking ace Desiree Miller also in line for debuts off the pine.

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Up front, Hoy is among five starting changes in the forwards alone.

She’ll partner Tania Naden and club mate Eva Karpani up front with Reds lock Annabelle Codey returning to pair skipper Michaela Leonard in the engine room.

Brumbies utility Siokapesi Palu also returns to the match-day squad at blindside flanker with Em Chancellor her openside and the versatile Kaitlan Leaney shifting to number eight.

Welly on a good day 😍 Great day training at the home of rugby legend Jerry Collins, Porirua Park, ahead of our first WXV clash this Friday 🙌 🏟️ Sky Stadium, Wellington 📆 Friday, 20 October, 5pm AEDT 📺 Stan Sport #Wallaroos #WXV

Posted by Buildcorp Wallaroos on Monday, October 16, 2023

Waratah Layne Morgan and Queensland's Carys Dallinger reprise their halves pairing from Hamilton with Arabella McKenzie and Georgina Friedrichs combining in the midfield.

Ivania Wong and Maya Stewart again loom the Wallaroos’ best scoring threats on the wing with teenage fullback sensation Faitala Moleka making her first Test start since June.

Tregonning addressed the sweeping changes in Wednesday's press conference, notably Palu's switch from the centres to the backrow at Marsters' expense along with McKenzie's addition at #12.

"Pesi's been working all year as a bit of a utility for us she's really come a long way over the last two campaigns and has been working with the forwards more predominately. She brings a great lineout option and a good ball carry for us," Tregonning said.

"With Ash, it's a bit of a tactical decision to bring her off the bench later and also in regards to where we're at in between campaigns … just keeping an eye on how work she's done in that time as well.

"Bella was part of the Team of the Year in the Premiership at 12 so she very adept in that area. Since coming back in we've dicussed the possibility of her playing at 10 or 12 and she's been part of that.

"She brings an outstanding skillset, shes a good ball carrier and does provide that game-driving support for Carys as well.

Friday’s clash could also see the long-awaited return of Waratahs lock Atasi Lafai, who spent almost 12 months out following a devastating ankle injury during the Rugby World Cup. She’s been named on the bench alongside fellow forwards Adiana Talakai, Bree-Anna Cheatham, Emily Robinson and Ashley Marsters with the experienced Cecilia Smith joining Dougherty and Miller as backline cover.

Wallaroos team to play England at Sky Stadium, Wellington on Friday 20 October, 5:00pm AEDT


1.  Brianna Hoy - uncapped
2.  Tania Naden – 6 caps
3.  Eva Karpani – 17 caps
4.  Michaela Leonard (c) – 18 caps
5.  Annabelle Codey – 4 caps
6.  Siokapesi Palu – 3 caps
7.  Emily Chancellor – 19 caps
8.  Kaitlan Leaney – 11 caps
9.  Layne Morgan – 15 caps
10.  Carys Dallinger – 3 caps
11.  Ivania Wong – 8 caps
12.  Arabella McKenzie – 18 caps
13.  Georgina Friedrichs – 15 caps
14.  Maya Stewart – 5 caps
15.  Faitala Moleka – 2 caps


16.  Adiana Talakai – 12 caps
17.  Bree-Anna Cheatham – 5 caps
18.  Emily Robinson – 21 caps
19.  Atasi Lafai – 6 caps
20.  Ashley Marsters – 23 caps
21.  Sarah Dougherty - uncapped
22.  Cecilia Smith – 8 caps
23.  Desiree Miller - uncapped


Wallaroos v England, 5:00pm (AEDT), 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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