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Anne Photograp News 2024

Three rookies confirmed Yapp names the first Wallaroos team to play Canada
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Three rookies confirmed Yapp names the first Wallaroos team to play Canada

Wallaroos coach Jo Yapp has confirmed the first side of her coaching stint ahead of Saturday’s Pacific Four opener against Canada in Sydney.

Yapp has named three potential debutants including Hera-Barb Malcolm Heke, Sally Fuesaina and Samantha Wood as part of the reserves.

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Malcolm Heke and Wood have been rewarded after playing key roles in the first Western Force final, while 32-year-old Fuesaina has been included alongside Wallaroo Player of the Year Eva Karpani in her standout season for the Brumbies.

The starting squad is similar to the team that defeated Wales to close out 2023 with a few positional adjustments.

Michaela Leonard is the team’s captain, joined in the second row by Kaitlan Leaney, who finished the year as back rower.

Leaney’s shift coincides with the return of Piper Duck at number eight, with Bridie O’Gorman starting in the front row.

Arabella McKenzie joins Waratahs teammate Layne Morgan in the half, while Force skipper Trileen Pomare partners Georgina Friedrichs in the centres.

Lori Cramer has been appointed at fullback to round out an experienced Wallaroos side, complementing Waratahs’ wingers Maya Stewart and Desiree Miller in an electric back three.

Cramer, Morgan and Friedrichs will earn 20 caps for the Wallaroos, one of eight to reach the milestone. It’s a stark contrast to former coach Jay Tregonning’s first Test two years ago, when Liz Patu (23) was the only player with that experience in their opening Test of 2022 against Fijiana.

Yapp backed the experience to shine through against fourth-ranked Canada to start their Test season on a high.

“We are very happy with the way the squad has developed over the past week and training in Blacktown was a great environment for the players to prepare in camp,” Yapp said.

“Hera-Barb, Sam and Sally all deserve the chance to make their debuts and I look forward to them making an impact in this team.

“The girls are excited to play their first test match of the year and put in a good performance at the Allianz Stadium in front of our home fans.”

WALLAROOS TEAM LIST FOR CANADA

1. Brianna Hoy (NSW Waratahs) – 3 caps

2. Tania Naden (ACT Brumbies) – 10 caps

3. Bridie O’Gorman (NSW Waratahs) – 17 caps

4. Kaitlan Leaney (NSW Waratahs) – 15 caps

5. Michaela Leonard (c) (Western Force) – 22 caps

6. Siokapesi Palu (ACT Brumbies) – 6 caps

7. Ashley Marsters (Melbourne Rebels) – 26 caps

8. Piper Duck (NSW Waratahs) – 10 capsules

9. Layne Morgan (NSW Waratahs) – 19 caps

10. Arabella McKenzie (NSW Waratahs) – 21 caps

11. Desiree Miller (NSW Waratahs) – 2 caps

12. Trilleen Pomare (Western Force) – 24 caps

13. Georgina Friedrichs (NSW Waratahs) – 19 caps

14. Maya Stewart (NSW Waratahs) – 8 caps

15. Lori Cramer (Queensland Reds) – 19 caps

Reservations

16. Hera-Barb Malcolm Heke* (Western Force) – debut

17 Sally Fuesaina* (ACT Brumbies) – debut

18. Eva Karpani (NSW Waratahs) – 21 caps

19. Atasi Lafai (NSW Waratahs) – 9 caps

20. Leilani Nathan (NSW Waratahs) – 2 caps

21. Tabua Tuinakauvadra (ACT Brumbies) – 4 caps

22. Samantha Wood* (Western Force) – debut

23. Faitala Moleka (ACT Brumbies) – 6 caps *Indicates potential debut