Wong, Leonard return as Wallaroos confirm side, First Nations jersey for Wales clash

Wed, Oct 19, 2022, 11:32 PM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallaroos fullback Lori Cramer recounts how the First Nations Yugambeh anthem came to fruition.

Wallaroos coach Jay Tregonning has recalled Ivania Wong and Michaela Leonard to the starting line-up to face Wales on October 22 in Whangarei.

Wong returns to the back three after missing last week's victory over Scotland, partnering with Bienne Terita and Lori Cramer.

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Meanwhile, Leonard has earned her first Rugby World Cup start, coming off the bench during the opening match against New Zealand.

Leonard joins Atasi Lafai in the second row, whilst Bridie O'Gorman swaps with last week's player of the match Eva Karpani in the front row.

Brumbies hooker Tania Naden is in line for her debut, named on the reserves as she replaces the suspended Ashley Marsters.

“The coaching staff and I have been so impressed by Naden’s determination during our time at the Rugby World Cup,” Tregonning said in a statement.

“Every direction, every adjustment we’ve suggested, she’s taken on board and actioned.

“Though we got the win last weekend, we left a lot of opportunities on the field, and that’s something we’re seeking to improve on this Saturday.”

The Wallaroos also confirmed they will wear their First Nations kit for the must-win fixture.

It will be the third time they have worn the jersey in 2022 and the first time they will do so at a Rugby World Cup.

“We were thrilled to get the win against Scotland over the weekend, but it hasn’t changed our approach to training,” captain Shannon Parry added.

“Our focus has remained on improving our discipline, and we’ve upheld last week’s theme of ‘whatever it takes’.

“Now we’ve had a taste of victory, the girls are hungry for more, and we’re eager for this weekend’s challenge.”

The Wallaroos will secure a top-two finish and their place in the quarter-finals with a win, whilst a defeat will leave them nervously waiting to qualify as one of the two highest-ranked third-place finishes.

The match will be shown live and ad-free on Stan Sport, with the game set to kick off at 12:15 pm (AEDT).

Wallaroos team to play Wales at Northland Events Centre, Whangarei, on Saturday 22 October, 2:15pm NZST / 12:15pm AEDT

1. Liz Patu – Queensland Reds

2. Adiana Talakai – New South Wales Waratahs

3. Bridie O'Gorman – New South Wales Waratahs

4. Michaela Leonard – ACT Brumbies

5. Atasi Lafai – New South Wales Waratahs

6. Emily Chancellor – New South Wales Waratahs

7. Shannon Parry (C) – Queensland Reds

8. Grace Hamilton – New South Wales Waratahs

9. Iliseva Batibasaga – New South Wales Waratahs

10. Arabella McKenzie – New South Wales Waratahs

11. Ivania Wong - Queensland Reds

12. Sharni Williams – Australian Sevens

13. Georgina Friedrichs – New South Wales Waratahs

14. Bienne Terita – Australian Sevens

15. Lori Cramer – New South Wales Waratahs

Reserves

16. Tania Naden – ACT Brumbies

17. Emily Robinson – New South Wales Waratahs

18. Eva Karpani – New South Wales Waratahs

19. Grace Kemp - ACT Brumbies

20. Piper Duck – New South Wales Waratahs

21. Layne Morgan – New South Wales Waratahs

22. Trilleen Pomare - Western Force

23.Pauline Piliae-Rasabale – New South Wales Waratahs

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