Wallaroos out to rebound in rugby clash with US

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.

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store