Wallaroos begin quest for post World Cup glory ahead of crucial 2023

Tue, May 16, 2023, 6:13 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Wallaroos have kickstarted their 'Road to New Zealand' with a 36-19 victory over Fijiana.

The Wallaroos are eager to set their season up perfectly as they prepare for Saturday's Test against Fijiana at Allianz Stadium.

The match marks the first of an expanded calendar, with the Wallaroos set to play in the Pacific Four competition in June/July before the inaugural WXV tournament later in the year.

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

Jay Tregonning's side needs to finish in the top three of Pac four if they wish to qualify for the top division of WXV, where they would face England, France and Wales.

With qualifying locked in for the first two years, assistant coach Scott Fava is looking to fast-track the development as they arrive in camp.

“There’s no doubt there’s a lot of learnings and work on. We went into the season only winning three games so we want to turn it into a winning season at the end of the day

“There’s a lot we need to do from a professionalism, s&c and attack/defence perspective, there’s a lot of learnings that need to go into it on the field and then turn them into behaviours into Saturday’s Test.”

The retirement of Shannon Parry adds further significance to the Test match, with the legendary flanker set to pull on the gold jersey and yellow headgear for the last time.

“I think it’s a joyous occasion. As a captain playing your last game on home soil, you’re writing your own script,” Fava added. “To be able to do that in the context of the game, not many players get the chance to do it in this era.

“I’m really proud of what she’s been able to do over the past few years and she’s only going to increase within going into coaching and her valuable knowledge into the junior ranks.”

Prop Emily Robinson has been with Parry throughout the journey, playing in two World Cups together in 2017 and 2022.

“I don’t think you need extra motivation when you’re pulling on the gold jersey, it’s the most motivation you should need, but classic Shannon, she doesn’t want it to be about herself," she notes.

“We’ll make sure to do our job on the weekend and hopefully crack a can of coke with her afterwards.”

Robinson knows what to expect from Fijiana, eliminated by the Drua in back-to-back finals series with the NSW Waratahs during Super W.

The front-rower was keeping the focus internally, confident they are peaking perfectly for a strong performance.

“I just think they’ve had a lot more time together…we’ve all played the Drua this year and we know how they played and assume it’ll be similar to Fijiana," Robinson believes.

“I think we just need to focus on our strengths and what they need to be worried about rather than what we need to be.

“I think building nicely for a big game on Saturday.” 

Shannon Parry ends her career on a high. Photo: Getty Images
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