Wallaroos name THREE debutants for Canada clash, big-name prop benched


A new era of the Wallaroos begins in earnest this weekend, with new coach Jo Yapp naming her side to face Canada ahead of their first clash at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.

In total, there are three new faces with Hera-Barb Malcolm Heke and Samantha Wood from the Force and Sally Fuesaina from the Brumbies will be set to make their debuts off the bench, hoping to build off the back of a strong Super Rugby Women’s season.

The girls in gold have not beaten the Canadian side since 2014, however, with growing momentum behind the Australian game and several big scalps coming at the end of the WXV1 campaign last year, there is a growing sense the Wallaroos can build on the groundwork set by previous coach Jay Tregonning.

The Wallaroos will be hungry to make up for the last result played in Ottawa last year – which saw the hosts run out 45–7 winners and deny the Wallaroos the runner-up position in the competition.

Of particular note is the increased presence of Brumbies and Western Force players in Yapp’s side, reflective of their growing programs and improving performance domestically.

Force veteran Michaela Leonard retains the captaincy, while a strong loose forward pack in Piper Duck, Ashley Marsters and Siokapesi Palu will bring significant physicality to general play.

The experienced Waratah pairing of Layne Morgan and Arabella McKenzie in the halves will complement national stalwarts Trilleen Pomare and Georgina Friedrichs in the centres, with Queensland Red Lori Cramer joined by Tahs pairing Desiree Miller and Maya Stewart in the back three.

However, the most interesting callings sit in the front row, with the 2023 Wallaroo Player of the Year Eva Karpani set to come off the bench alongside Fuesaina, while Waratah props Brianna Hoy and Bridie O’Gorman will start.

In a growing reflection of the increased game time the Wallaroos have been getting, Cramer, Morgan and Friedrichs are set to earn their 20th cap for the national side.

Maya Stewart will complement a dangerous back three with fellow Waratah Desiree Miller and Queensland Red Lori Cramer. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Yapp was confident that the growing self-belief, experience, more game time, and a promising domestic season would see the squad end their losing streak against their Northern Hemisphere rivals.

“We’re really happy with how the squad has connected over the past week and training in Blacktown has been a great environment for the players to prepare in camp,” the new Wallaroos coach admitted in a press statement.

“Hera-Barb, Sam and Sally are all deserving of their opportunity to make their debut and I’m looking 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 Allianz Stadium in front of our home fans.”

Jo Yapp says she wants to lead the Wallaroos into the top four. Photo: Rugby Australia

Wallaroos Squad to face Canada – 4:55pm AEST, Allianz Stadium, Sydney

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 caps

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


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

17 Sally Fuesaina* (ACT Brumbies)

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)

23. Faitala Moleka (ACT Brumbies) – 6 caps


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