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‘We want to see change’: Wallaroos still driving for action ahead of Kiwi clash

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Senior Wallaroos flanker Emily Chancellor says the Australian women’s rugby team will continue to drive for change despite being satisfied with the initial outcomes of a player campaign calling out Rugby Australia over a lack of funding and promotion in women’s rugby.

Before their second Laurie O’Reilly Cup clash with New Zealand in Hamilton on Saturday, Chancellor spoke for the first time about the outcome of the Wallaroos’ co-ordinated action on social media last month, where anger and frustration of fed-up players finally reached boiling point.

Sparked by a belief Rugby Australia had paid for partners of Wallabies to travel to Sydney to farewell their partners (which was denied by RA), Wallaroos players criticised RA over a lack of funding in the women’s 15-a-side game and slammed the inequity in resourcing for the Wallaroos compared to the Wallabies.

A group of Wallaroos players subsequently met Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh to outline their concerns. Chancellor said the meeting had been constructive, and said the need for better communication was clear given they had learned RA were already planning things they were pushing for.


“It was the start of a really great conversation. We haven’t got definitive answers yet but we believe we have the right step in the process to creating that long-term change,” Chancellor said.

“The biggest thing is communication, as a playing group and working with Rugby Australia, and our body RUPA, to make sure our communication channels are open, and that we understand what’s happening behind the scenes.

“Because there are things that are happening that we weren’t privy to, which probably would have simmered some of the frustration. But in the same breath it is the communication both ways. So we know if we have problems, we know the direct paths to go to. And they also know we want to work together. And that was the common message, that RA and the Wallaroos are not trying to do something separate.

“We want to work together, and making sure we are driving hard. We are not comfortable to just sit and wait, we want to see change happening. And it sounds like it is moving in the right direction, but it still words until it is action.”

One of the issues raised by the Wallaroos was having a part-time coaching staff. RA have since advertised for a full-time head coach.

Wallaroos coach Jay Tregonning revealed he would not be applying for the job, however, having determined he was not in a position to commit to the role full-time over the next few years. Rugby Australia hope to keep Tregonning in the system.

Emily Chancellor in action against New Zealand in Australia’s pool match at the 2021 Rugby World Cup.

Emily Chancellor in action against New Zealand in Australia’s pool match at the 2021 Rugby World Cup.Credit: Getty

The Wallaroos are hoping to bounce back from a 50-0 defeat to the world champion Black Ferns in June.

The world No.5 side played strongly in their next game of the Pacific Four series, thrashing the USA 58-17 in Vancouver. The win secured the Wallaroos a spot in the WXV 1 competition next month – the top level in a new multi-tiered, global women’s rugby competition – but they fell to Canada in their last clash.

Tregonning has made four changes to the side to meet the Kiwis, with Chancellor returning to No.7, Ash Marsters going to No.8. and with Sera Naiqama named at lock. Veteran centre Trilleen Pomare also returns to the alongside Georgie Friedrichs.

Though it has undergone change since last year, Chancellor said the young team could take lessons from the Wallaroos’ tight 22-14 defeat against the Black Ferns in Adelaide last year.

Wallaroos vs. New Zealand

FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton4.35pm NZDT (1.35pm AEST) Saturday 30 September

1. Bree-Anna Cheatham - five caps

2. Adiana Talakai - 12 caps

3. Eva Karpani - 17 caps

4. Sera Naiqama - 10 caps

5. Michaela Leonard (c) - 18 caps

6. Kaitlan Leaney - 11 caps

7. Emily Chancellor - 19 caps

8. Ashley Marsters - 23 caps

9. Layne Morgan - 15 caps

10. Carys Dallinger - two caps

11. Ivania Wong - 11 caps

12. Trilleen Pomare - 23 caps

13. Georgina Friedrichs -15 caps

14. Maya Stewart - five caps

15. Lori Cramer - 17 caps


16. Tania Naden - six caps

17. Emily Robinson - 21 caps

18. Bridie O’Gorman 15 caps

19. Leilani Nathan - uncapped

20. Tabua Tuinakauvadra - three caps

21. Jasmin Huriwai - four caps

22. Cecilia Smith - eight caps

23. Faitala Moleka - two caps

“What worked well was we started without fear. We knew our gameplan and we went out and executed that,” Chancellor said.

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