Waratahs’ trailblazing teen wins first Wallaroos call up, Duck returns, as squad named for Pacific Four series


Waratahs teenage star Caitlyn Halse has won her first call up to the Wallaroos as one of the nine potential debutants in a 30-player squad for the Pacific Four series.

The Wallaroos kick off their campaign against Canada at Allianz Stadium on May 11.

Halse last year became the youngest ever NSW senior rep in men’s or women’s rugby when she made her Super Rugby debut aged 16 years and 187 days, requiring a written permission slip from her parents to be allowed to play against adults.

The 17-year-old started playing rubgy against boys from the age of eight, having first run out in rugby league at six.

She told News Corp ahead of the Waratahs Super Rugby Women’s final defeat of Fijian Drua that she was targeted from an early age in mixed competition.

“Some parents would be yelling stuff onto the field and telling their sons to just whack me because I’m a girl,” she said.

Caitlyn Halse. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

“Some games weren’t the best because of the parents yelling from the sideline but other than that, it was really good. All the boys in my team just backed me and I just ignored the external stuff and just played my type of footy.

“It definitely toughened me up and made me more determined to prove everyone wrong that rugby league or union isn’t just a male dominated sport that girls can play to, and that girls are just as good as the boys. Maybe even better.”

Wallaroos’ new coach Jo Yapp has included 20 players who were part of last year’s O’Reilly Cup and WXV campaigns while nine potential debutants are among the fresh faces in the squad while a further 10 development players will also join camp ahead of the opening game in Sydney.

Michaela Leonard continues as captain while in form wingers Desiree Miller and Maya Stewart are among 13 Waratahs players to be selected following Sunday’s grand final victory.


Desi Miller with a hat-trick in the Buildcorp #SuperRugbyW Grand Final ???????? pic.twitter.com/TrAHiA5RzY

— Wallaroos (@WallaroosRugby) April 29, 2024

Leonard is joined by experienced forwards Eva Karpani, Bridie O’Gorman and Ashley Marsters in the pack while Piper Duck returns to the squad after missing last season due to injury.

The uncapped players named in the squad includes teenagers Shalom Sauaso, Allana Sikimeti and Halse as well as 32-year-old Sally Fuesaina, who has earned a position after strong performances for ACT Brumbies.

Brumbies teammates Biola Dawa and Lydia Kavoa have also received maiden call-ups, along with Western Force duo Samantha Wood and Hera-Barb Malcolm Heke, and Melbourne Rebels lock Tiarah Minns.

Yapp said in a statement: “The Super Rugby Women’s competition has been really competitive and has given us a great opportunity to not only observe our managed group but up and coming players too.

“We feel the squad we have selected for the Pacific Four series gives us a good mix of experience and youth. We are really looking forward to getting into camp and kick starting the competition against Canada.

“We will also bring in 10 development players into the training squad for the first six days. It is important that we start to expose more players to that next level up. We won’t know if they can take that step unless we give them the opportunity to do so.”

National Women’s High Performance Manager Jaime Fernandez added: “I would like to congratulate all of the players selected, it is great reward for their efforts and performances throughout the Super Rugby Women’s competition.

“I want to thank Jo and her team of coaches for undertaking a thorough and comprehensive process, whereby they selected a squad reflective of the fierce and competitive Super Rugby Women’s series.

“Players in both the Pacific Four and Development squads have demonstrated their capability and form throughout the last 10 weeks of pre-season and Super Rugby competition.

“I have been extremely pleased with the coaching staff’s approach and the attention to detail they have demonstrated, resulting in the Wallaroos’ first squad for 2024.

“I am also encouraged to see a mix of experience and youth, along with recognition of a group of players who are not far away from representative honours.

“We are firmly focused on not only the immediate goal of the upcoming Pacific Four series, but future Tests in 2024, and of course the longer-term goal being the Rugby World Cup in 2025.”

The Wallaroos host Canada at Allianz Stadium on May 11 before shifting to Melbourne where they’ll take on the USA at AAMI Park on May 17.

Their final match of the series will be played in Auckland against New Zealand on May 25.


Allana Sikimeti* (ACT Brumbies) – uncapped
Asoiva (Eva) Karpani (NSW Waratahs) – 21 caps
Brianna Hoy (NSW Waratahs) – 3 caps
Bridie O’Gorman (NSW Waratahs) – 17 caps
Sally Fuesaina* (ACT Brumbies) – uncapped
Hera-Barb Malcolm Heke* (Western Force) – uncapped
Tania Naden (ACT Brumbies) – 10 caps
Kaitlan Leaney (NSW Waratahs) – 15 caps
Michaela Leonard (c) (Western Force) – 22 caps
Tiarah Minns* (Melbourne Rebels) – uncapped
Ashley Marsters (Melbourne Rebels) – 26 caps
Atasi Lafai (NSW Waratahs) – 9 caps
Leilani Nathan (NSW Waratahs) – 2 caps
Lydia Kavoa* (ACT Brumbies) – uncapped
Siokapesi Palu (ACT Brumbies) – 6 caps
Piper Duck (NSW Waratahs) – 10 caps
Tabua Tuinakauvadra (ACT Brumbies) – 4 caps
Layne Morgan (NSW Waratahs) – 19 caps
Samantha Wood* (Western Force) – uncapped
Arabella McKenzie (NSW Waratahs) – 21 caps
Faitala Moleka (ACT Brumbies) – 6 caps
Cecilia Smith (Queensland Reds) – 12 caps
Georgina Friedrichs (NSW Waratahs) – 19 caps
Shalom Sauaso* (Queensland Reds) – uncapped
Trilleen Pomare (Western Force) – 24 caps
Biola Dawa* (ACT Brumbies) – uncapped
Desiree Miller (NSW Waratahs) – 2 caps
Maya Stewart (NSW Waratahs) – 8 caps
Caitlyn Halse* (NSW Waratahs) – uncapped
Lori Cramer (Queensland Reds) – 19 caps

*denotes potential debutant

Capped players unavailable for selection due to injury

Emily Chancellor
Bree-Anna Cheatham
Jasmin Huriwai
Adiana Talakai


Ashley Fernandez (ACT Brumbies)
Ashlea Bishop (ACT Brumbies)
Brittany Merlo (NSW Waratahs)
Janita Kareta (Queensland Reds)
Melanie Wilks (Queensland Reds)
Natalie Wright (Queensland Reds)
Skye Churchill (NSW Waratahs)
Tamika Jones (Western Force)
Tiarna Molloy (Queensland Reds)
Waiaria Ellis (NSW Waratahs)

Australia v Canada – Saturday May 11, Allianz Stadium, Sydney 4:55pm (AEST)
Australia v USA – Friday, May 17, AAMI Park, Melbourne 4:55pm (AEST)
Australia v New Zealand – Saturday, May 25, North Harbour Stadium, Auckland 12:05pm (AEST)

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