Wallaroos 'chipping away' at Black Ferns as Kiwis target ex-teammate Dallinger

The Wallaroos and Black Ferns are ready to go into battle on Thursday. Photo: Brendan Hertel/RA Media
The Wallaroos and Black Ferns are ready to go into battle on Thursday. Photo: Brendan Hertel/RA Media

Looking to break through for their first ever win over world champions New Zealand, the Wallaroos feel they are "chipping away" at the Black Ferns.

The Australians will get a check on their standing at Kayo Stadium in Brisbane on Thursday night when the countries line up in their first clash of the Pacific Four series, which also features Canada and the USA.

Don't miss out! Click here to buy tickets as the Wallaroos take on the Black Ferns at Dolphin Stadium

The trans-Tasman match also doubles as a battle for the O'Reilly Cup, which is decided over two games.

The Black Ferns have dominated the exchanges, winning 23 straight.

In their last meeting at the Rugby World Cup last October, the Wallaroos showed their improvement by racing to a 17-0 lead after 27 minutes to leave New Zealand shell-shocked.

But the five-time tournament champions, playing on home soil, regrouped to pile on the tries for a 41-17 victory.

Wallaroos assistant coach Sione Fukofuka said while they didn't get the breakthrough win, it showed what was possible.

"Each game we've played we've chipped away and chipped away," Fukofuka said on Wednesday.

"That first half in Eden Park was a bit of showcase of what we can achieve and we've taken a step forward with Super W so we're excited to see what we can put out there."

The Wallaroos named Piper Duck as the new captain to replace the retired Shannon Parry, but with the young flanker out with a foot injury lock Michaela Leonard has taken over as skipper.

The Western Force star said her team's preparation was first-rate, as they looked to bank their first Pacific Four victory after going winless through the 2022 edition.

"We had a really good preparation week on the Gold Coast so we just need to get out and put it into practice," the line-out leader said.

"We need to keep the foot on the throttle for the full 80 minutes to make sure we finish strong."

Since the World Cup the Black Ferns have a new coach in Allan Bunting and have included six new faces in the current squad.

A talking point this week has been the selection of Kiwi Carys Dallinger as the Wallaroos playmaker.

The 23-year-old was born and raised in New Zealand but is eligible to represent Australia through her father Steve, and turned out for Queensland in the Super W.

Black Ferns co-captain Kennedy Simon said Dallinger, who also played for the Hurricanes, had many friends in the New Zealand side.

"I was really surprised to see her face in the line-up but she's an incredible person and I know whatever team she's in she will give 100 (per cent)," Simon said.

"She's got lots of great friends in our group - it's going to be a battle."


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