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Thread: Halse to make Australian Rugby history as Yapp names fullback for USA Test

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    Halse to make Australian Rugby history as Yapp names fullback for USA Test

    Wed, May 15, 2024, 6:57 AM
    Nathan Williamson


    Wallaroos coach Jo Yapp has named teenage sensation Caitlyn Halse to debut against the USA in Friday’s second Pacific Four Test in Melbourne.

    The 17-year-old Halse will line up at fullback against the Americans and break the record for the youngest-ever Australian to play Test internationals, male or female, at 17 years, 242 days when she takes the field on Friday.

    Halse breaks the record set by Sharyn Williams, who debuted at 18 years, 44 days in the debut Test in 1994.

    “It’s really exciting to be able to tell Caitlyn Halse she will be making her debut,” Yapp said.

    “She has been excellent in the Super W and is a player of the future in this team.”

    She will be joined by Waratahs teammates Maya Stewart and Desiree Miller on the wings.

    Yapp has made one further change to the backline, with last week's debutant Samantha Wood starting for Layne Morgan.

    Wood came off the bench in the defeat to Canada, adding an extra kicking option with Lori Cramer shifted to the reserves.

    Wallaroos Player of the Year Eva Karpani also starts, swapping with Bridie O’Gorman in the front row.

    The Wallaroos will be looking to secure their place in WXV 1 with a win over the Americans.

    The two sides are split in the Pacific Four series, with the Australians producing a 58-17 win after going down 16-14 in 2022

    “We’re looking for an improved performance against the USA and have made a few changes that we believe can help us win,” Yapp added.

    “The team knows where to improve following the loss to Canada and we’re looking forward to playing at AAMI Park in Melbourne for the first time in our history.”

    WALLAROOS TEAM LIST TO PLAY THE USA

    1. Brianna Hoy (NSW Waratahs) – 4 caps
    2. Tania Naden (ACT Brumbies) – 11 caps
    3. Eva Karpani (NSW Waratahs) – 22 caps
    4. Kaitlan Leaney (NSW Waratahs) – 16 caps
    5. Michaela Leonard (c) (Western Force) – 23 caps
    6. Siokapesi Palu (ACT Brumbies) – 7 caps
    7. Ashley Marsters (Melbourne Rebels) – 27 caps
    8. Piper Duck (NSW Waratahs) – 11 caps
    9. Samantha Wood (Western Force) – 1 cap
    10. Arabella McKenzie (NSW Waratahs) – 22 caps
    11. Desiree Miller (NSW Waratahs) – 3 caps
    12. Trilleen Pomare (Western Force) – 25 caps
    13. Georgina Friedrichs (NSW Waratahs) – 20 caps
    14. Maya Stewart (NSW Waratahs) – 9 caps
    15. Caitlyn Halse* (NSW Waratahs) – debut

    16. Hera-Barb Malcolm Heke (Western Force) – 1 cap
    17. Sally Fuesaina (ACT Brumbies) – 1 cap
    18. Bridie O'Gorman (NSW Waratahs) – 18 caps
    19. Atasi Lafai (NSW Waratahs) – 10 caps
    20. Leilani Nathan (NSW Waratahs) – 3 caps
    21. Layne Morgan (NSW Waratahs) – 20 caps
    22. Faitala Moleka (ACT Brumbies) – 7 caps
    23. Lori Cramer (Queensland Reds) – 20 caps

    *Denotes debut

    USA

    1. Hope Rogers
    2. Kathryn Treder
    3. Charli Jacoby
    4. Hallie Taufoou
    5. Erica Jarrell
    6. Kate Zachary (c)
    7. Georgie Perris-Redding
    8. Rachel Johnson
    9. Olivia Ortiz
    10. McKenzie Hawkins
    11. Lotte Clapp
    12. Gabby Cantorna
    13. Atumata Hingano
    14. Bulou Mataitoga
    15. Tess Fuery

    16. Paige Stathopoulos
    17. Alivia Leatherman
    18. Keia Mae Sagapolu
    19. Rachel Ehrecke
    20. Freda Tafuna
    21. Taina Tukuafu
    22. Katana Howard
    23. Emily Henrich

    Referee: Maggie Cogger-Orr (NZR)

    Assistant Referees: Natarsha Ganley and Chloe Sampson

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    Last edited by Burgs; 17-05-24 at 12:56.
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    Huge Congratulations to Sammi Wood

    As well as Trileen, Michalea and Hera- Barb

    Three starters and one finisher

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    Simon Cron: “People talk about winning and losing all the time and they are critical, but there’s a process to get into and it’s the ability to stay present, do your job and execute skills under pressure.”

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    A better selection on balance for mine.
    Karpani should firm up the Front Row, while I believe Halse was the form #15 of the competition.
    Kramer, while bringing huge comparative experience, just didn't quite gel with the rest of the Tah Backs given such a short lead into a big match.
    A massive opportunity for Wood to make a statement, though I suspect will be a little about conserving Morgan for the Kiwis.
    Otherwise unchanged brings some continuity, though I would be giving #7 extra scrutiny for next week. Marsters is a fantastic player, but is playing out of 2024 position and was a little off last week.
    Should be a close to comfortable win to ensure WXV1 and WRWC Qualifications.

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    'It’s a surreal feeling': History-making Halse eager to take Wallaroos chance

    Wed, May 15, 2024, 12:35 PM
    Nathan Williamson


    Wallaroos fullback Caitlyn Halse was lost for words discussing what it meant to play for Australia after her historic inclusion in the side to face the USA.

    Halse will become the youngest player to play international Test Rugby for Australia when she takes the field on Friday in Melbourne.

    "I think it was just an overwhelming feeling," Halse said on getting called up to make her debut.

    "Obviously getting to play for your country's a massive thing in any sport but, it was obviously a big dream of mine since I was a little kid.

    “It’s a surreal feeling getting the chance to play for your country but being one of the youngest to do it is a great feeling.

    “Having that camp (in 2023) helped with my development and then that second year of Super helped to develop me even more.”

    Halse was left in the dark about her selection until the team announcement meeting after a broken phone prevented any heads-up from coach Jo Yapp.

    When the number 15 popped up on the screen with Halse's face, the emotions overtook the 17-year-old and her teammates.

    "My phone was actually broken the day we were meant to get calls around selection, so I didn't know if I was playing or not. It wasn't until we were in the team meeting with the announcement when my name came up on the screen and just went straight into tears," she explained.

    "All the girls got around me and some of the other girls cried as well, which is really cute. Maya Stewart and Piper Duck were the main two (in tears).”

    Halse is still balancing school life with Rugby, entering her HSC.

    “When we’re not training I’m always doing some sort of schoolwork or study to keep up," she notes.

    However, one less pressure is on her shoulders this camp with Shalom Sauaso taking over Wallamina duties as the youngest player in the squad.

    “Wallamina is probably the most stressful thing about the camp, I can’t lie," Halse said and laughed.

    “All the girls are trying to take it so definitely grateful I don’t have to look after it.”

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    Leonard calling for reaction against USA after Canada defeat

    Thu, May 16, 2024, 3:10 PM
    Melissa Woods - AAP


    Captain Michaela Leonard expects a reaction from the Wallaroos' forward pack in their Pacific Four rugby clash against the USA after being dominated by Canada.

    The Australians lost 33-14 last round in Sydney with the Canadians scoring all five tries via the front row.

    The Wallaroos meet the winless Americans at Melbourne's AAMI Park on Friday afternoon in a vital clash, looking to again qualify for the top-tier WXV 1 competition in Canada in September and October.

    The loser is set to finish last in the Pacific Four and will play in the WXV 2 league in South Africa.

    Lock Leonard said her forwards had worked hard this week to improve on their showing against Canada.

    "Definitely as a forward we take that one on the chin, and we probably own a little bit of that," Leonard said after their final training run in Melbourne.

    "We've done really well this week to shore up a few of our areas around set piece, particularly the scrum and around our maul defence and we want to make those weapons this week.

    "Lots of chat and lots of action towards becoming more physical, particularly the forwards as well so hopefully we'll see that."

    Wallaroos 2023 player of the year Eva Karpani is back in the starting front row, with Leonard expecting her to add some punch both in attack and defence.

    "Eva is a phenomenally physical player, and we saw that through WXV, her power, carrying balls, scoring tries, but also in defence as well," the Western Force star said.

    "It's exciting to have her back into the starting line-up this week and hopefully we'll get some good punch and some good go-forward."

    New Wallaroos coach Jo Yapp has named teenager Caitlyn Halse to start at fullback, with the 17-year-old the youngest player to debut in a women's or men's Australian Test side.

    Leonard said the NSW youngster had shown she was ready.

    "The growth and the development in Caitlyn over the last 12 months, being part of some of our Wallaroos campaigns last year and then coming into this year, she's really matured as a player on the field and off the field," the captain said.

    "I think her composure on the field now and her ability to communicate has grown in leaps and bounds so I'm definitely excited for her to bring that out onto the field and then show what an attacking threat she can be with ball in hand as well."

    Captain Kate Zackary returns from injury for Team US, starting at blindside flanker while McKenzie Hawkins returns as five-eighth after missing their loss to New Zealand.

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    Captain Kate Zackary returns for final 2024 Pacific Four Series match against Australia

    Wed, May 15, 2024, 3:40 PM
    Taylor Dean, USA Rugby


    Head Coach Sione Fukofuka announced today the 23 players rostered to run out against Australia in the USA Women's Eagles' final test of the 2024 Pacific Four Series. Captain Kate Zackary returns from injury to lead the group, with Rachel Johnson and Tess Feury named vice captains.

    Zackary comes in to the left flanker position, and McKenzie Hawkins returns as flyhalf after missing last week's match due to injury. Coming off losses against Canada and New Zealand, the USA will be focusing in on the Australia match to secure a win and their spot in WXV 1 later this year.

    The USA and Australia's last matchup resulted in a 17-58 win for the Wallaroos. Coming off a loss to Canada last week, Australia will be just as determined to take a win on Friday. USA v Australia kicks off Friday, May 17, at 2:55 am ET (Thursday night), live on Peacock.

    The 2024 Pacific Four Series is the USA’s first stop on the road to 2025 World Cup qualification. The winner of PAC4 will earn a spot at the World Cup, and the top-six ranked non-qualified teams out of WXV will earn qualification. The top three teams from the Pacific Four Series will head to WXV 1 in Ottawa, while the fourth-ranked team will head to WXV 2 in South Africa.

    Comments from Head Coach Sione Fukofuka:
    "We are excited to welcome Kate back into the team and into her role as captain. Rachel Johnson has done an outstanding job at leading the team in her absence, and that experience, with Kate's return we feel will be a real point of difference. McKenzie Hawkins returns from her injury to take the game driver role and adds real confidence to the team with her calm and composed approach to the game.

    We have spent the week focused on our ability to create opportunities by maintaining possession, taking away their time and space with our connected line speed, and putting the source of the ball under pressure at set piece time.

    Australia are fifth in the world and have come off the strong end to 2023, so we respect their ability and the threats they have, as well as their new coaching staff and the changes they are making. Both teams are acutely aware that WXV and World Cup qualification are on the line, so it will be a really good contest between two very motivated sides."

    Comments from Captain Kate Zackary:
    "We have a big task ahead this weekend and I’m looking forward to being back on the team sheet for it. Our leadership group has done a fantastic job guiding this ship, and pushing the standards in training.

    The team has been training extremely hard the last few weeks. It’s been amazing watching them grind each day, and grow as a team. Sione and the coaching staff are challenging the players, and helping us find that next gear.

    We know what’s on the line this weekend, not just the desire to win, but to qualify for World Cup and WX1. The team is ready for the challenge we face, Australia is chasing the same qualification opportunity, so we have to start fast and maintain our quality of play for 80. It will be a duel to the last minute, and we can’t wait to rip into the match."

    USA Women's Eagles Roster | USA v Australia | 2024 Pacific Four Series
    Name-Club-Test Caps

    1. Hope Rogers Exeter Chiefs 46
    2. Kathryn Treder Loughborough Lightning 19
    3. Charli Jacoby Queensland Reds 27
    4. Hallie Taufoou Loughborough Lightning 16
    5. Erica Jarrell Sale Sharks 8
    6. Kate Zackary (C) Ealing Trailfinders 36
    7. Georgie Perris-Redding Sale Sharks 13
    8. Rachel Johnson (VC) Exeter Chiefs 28
    9. Olivia Ortiz Exeter Chiefs 19
    10. McKenzie Hawkins Colorado Gray Wolves 14
    11. Lotte Clapp Saracens 15
    12. Gabby Cantorna Exeter Chiefs 27
    13. Atumata Hingano USA Sevens
    14. Bulou Mataitoga Loughborough Lightning 16
    15. Tess Feury (VC) Leicester Tigers 25

    16. Paige Stathopoulos Beantown RFC 7
    17. Alivia Leatherman Notre Dame College 2
    18. Keia Mae Sagapolu Leicester Tigers 8
    19. Rachel Ehrecke Colorado Gray Wolves 12
    20. Freda Tafuna Lindenwood University 7
    21. Taina Tukuafu Lindenwood University 8
    22. Katana Howard Sale Sharks 19
    23. Emily Henrich Unattached 15

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    Looks like the Sporting Capital of the World has managed about 50 head in the crowd for an International fixture...

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    USA get up 32-25
    Wallaroos were looking the goods in the first half, but need to review whatever went on in the Sheds as came out and dropped 12 in a handful of minutes.
    It went from a promising running Rugby display by the Wallaroos to a grinding "up-the-guts" effort by USA.
    There were stupid decisions by experienced players, too many open play mistakes around our Props undoing good field position and too many back to back errors allowing USA to march down the field.
    Really disappointing effort and, if the Sunday match goes to script, Australia will drop to WXV2 and are still looking for WRWC Qualification.
    The assumption is Canada won't beat New Zealand, which is a fair position for anyone but a Canadian, leaving the Wallaroos needing to get a bonus point win over NZ. However, if Canada can spring the upset and not allow NZ a bonus point, then an Australian win would throw all that on its head.
    Sadly, very unlikely, but stranger things have happened.
    A drop to WXV2 may actually be an advantage in a World Cup lead in year. While not great in terms of immediate fortunes, it would give Coach Yapp the opportunity to go up against some lesser opponents in building depth and style to 2025.
    If Australia do indeed drop, I think they would be playing Italy, Scotland and South Africa, each worthy adversaries, but ones we should be beating.
    Alternatively in WXV1 England, France and Ireland await to bring the hurt!
    But first, let's pray for a couple of miracles in the next week...

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    USA down Wallaroos after second half comeback in Melbourne

    Fri, May 17, 2024, 4:22 PM
    Nathan Williamson


    The USA have produced a strong second half comeback to down the Wallaroos 32-25 in Melbourne.

    Jo Yapp's side came out to a flying start, racing out to a 17-3 lead after 30 minutes.

    However, the Americans kept themselves in the fight with a try just before the break, kicking on in the second half.

    Prop Hope Rogers was damaging, barging over for a double to level the scores.

    Two further tries gave them a late lead, holding on for the victory.

    The Australians were quick out of the blocks as Georgina Friedrichs burst through the line, drawing the fullback for Desiree Miller to open her try account in Test Rugby.

    The Americans responded with a penalty through Gabby Cantorna, making up for an earlier miss before the damaging left hand side of the Wallaroos’ attack struck again through Ash Marsters.

    Marsters, who usually plays centre for the Rebels, showed her explosiveness to beat her defender and step past the fullback to score at her home venue.

    The Australians controlled the first half as their backline caused havoc to start the game.

    Winger Maya Stewart was denied a try for a Marsters pull back but the speedster didn’t have to wait long for another chance when the combination of Marsters and Friedrichs put her one-on-one with the fullback, palming them off for a nice try.

    Needing a spark, the Americans went to their rolling maul and found success via Kathryn Treder.

    The boot of Arabella McKenzie gave the Aussies a 12-point lead heading into the break but the Eagles’ comeback continued as their maul provided an unstoppable weapon.

    It allowed them to dominate territory for the start of the second half, with Hope Rogers scoring a quick double to level the scores with half an hour to go.

    Piper Duck proved the spark for the Australians, bursting through the hole to put Friedrichs over for a deserved try.

    But as soon as they struck, the Americans had an answer as Lotte Clapp sliced through off the short ball to put the USA in front.

    The Americans maintained their pressure and extended their lead when Atumata Hingano dived over in the corner.

    The Wallaroos hunted for the levelling try and Layne Morgan went close, only to be held up just over the line.

    The Eagles were able to control the game from here through the forwards, erupting into celebration as they kept their WXV 1 dreams alive.

    "It was a game of two halves - in the first half we showed a big improvement from last week and we were playing the way we wanted to play," Yapp said post-match.

    "Second half we just didn't get a good foot-hold early on and we didn't exit cleanly, and unfortunately we ended up chasing the game.

    "These are tough lessons to learn."

    WALLAROOS 25
    Tries: Miller, Marsters, Stewart, Friedrichs

    Cons: McKenzie 1/4

    Pens: McKenzie 2/2

    USA 32
    Tries: Treder, Rogers 2, Clapp, Hingano

    Cons: Cantorna 2/4, Hawkins 0/1

    Pens: Cantorna 1/2

    Five things we learnt from Wallaroos - USA

    Fri, May 17, 2024, 5:09 PM
    Nathan Williamson


    The Wallaroos failed to overcome a rampaging American side in Melbourne as their slow start to the season continued.

    The 32-25 defeat was crushing for the Australians, who had ambitions of WXV 1 and automatic World Cup qualification on their minds.

    So what did we learn?

    1. Missed opportunity
    The Wallaroos will be left wondering what could’ve been after letting a dominant lead disappear.

    Memories of last year’s thumping win came flooding back when they raced out to a 17-3 lead before falling off before and after the break.

    It gave momentum and confidence to the Americans, unable to find a way through at the end.

    The Wallaroos’ dreams of returning to WXV 1 are now in tatters and the heartbreak of the defeat showed after the game.

    It means a trip to South Africa beckons for WXV 2 unless they can take down the Kiwis, who are in red-hot form.

    2. G-Fred finds top gear
    The influence of Georgina Friedrichs was crucial in setting up the early lead and momentum for the Australians.

    There was a real strategy to take on the midfield early in the game and Friedrichs feasted off the first opportunity to put Desiree Miller over in the opening five minutes.

    She produced a similar play to set up Stewart’s try as she caused the Eagles headaches all night. It’s no surprise when the Americans limited the ball she was getting, they started to get on top of the game.

    Friedrichs is the key to unlocking the Wallaroos’ attack and will need a similar performance to cause an upset next week against the Black Ferns

    3. The Great American Hope
    Hope Rogers further established herself as an American legend with a game-turning shift.

    Rogers is one of the best in the world from inside five metres and she struck twice to flip momentum and get the USA back into the contest.

    The loosehead prop worked tirelessly, comfortable leading the way in terms of carries for her side, in a wonderful 78-minute performance.

    4. Melbourne's own
    Ash Marsters was always going to put on a show in front of her home fans.

    Marsters is a special player, able to do it all and it showed in the 18th minute when she slotted back into the centres, powering through the defence and stepping the fullback for a great individual try.

    Her offload to Maya Stewart was perfect, only to undo her good work when she pulled back the defender. The Melbourne skipper made up for it when she folded around the corner perfectly to set up her winger.

    She tried to will Australia home but injured herself in the process, noticeably limping after the game. Coach Jo Yapp will be sweating on her fitness as they prepare to head to New Zealand.

    5. Rolling maul takes over
    The Americans’ rolling maul changed the game and ultimately delivered the Eagles the victory.

    Their dominance deflated the Australians, who had little answer most of the time for the power up front.

    It set up their first try of the game and it was the go-to weapon when they wanted to establish territorial control.

    This remains a major work-on for the Wallaroos, who met a similar fate against the Canadians

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