Wallaroos coach Jay Tregonning has praised the incredible fight from the Wallaroos to secure their place in the quarter-finals.
The team recorded back-to-back wins for the first time in 2022, holding on for a 13-7 victory over Wales.
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The Wallaroos managed to control the second half despite execution and discipline issues to ensure their spot in the knock-out stages.
Having lost lock Atasi Lafai during the week, suffering a broken ankle at training, Tregonning was pleased with the squad's resilience and turnaround after entering the tournament on a six-game losing streak.
“It’s probably a good sign on how well the girls are gelling,” Tregonning believes.
“To be able to dig in again at the end of the game and pull through those tough circumstances losing Atasi (Lafai) during the week.
“I think they’ve done very well. We know we can be better than that but the way they fight for each other from a coaching perspective is pleasing. I couldn’t anything more.”
The knockout stages have always been the goal, with the 41-17 defeat to the Black Ferns to start the tournament essentially starting them a fortnight earlier than scheduled.
For captain Shannon Parry, the prospect of being in the quarter-finals is a perfect sign of the growth of a Wallaroos squad that entered 2022 having not played a game for nearly 30 months.
“It’s massive for this group, we’ve come a long way since the start of the year as a group and people,” Parry said.
“I think for us, this is the first box that you want to tick, you want to get to the quarter-finals and once you get there, the tournament opens up and it’s a whole different ball game.
“Immensely proud of our group, we’ve come a long way but for us, it’s just the beginning. We’ve ticked the first box and we’re looking forwards to next week.”
“It’s a Grand Final every week now,” Tregonning added.
“Well prepare for every game like it’s a Grand Final and try to progress as far as we can.
“We’ll see who our opponents are tomorrow and then build on the success of the past two games.”