WXV1 spot on the line as Wallaroos prepare for must-win USA clash


The Wallaroos’ must-win rugby match against the US has an extra level of intrigue with former Test assistant Sione Fukofuka now head coach of the Americans.

Coming off a 33-14 loss to Canada to open their Pacific Four series, the Australians take on the US at Melbourne’s AAMI Park on Friday afternoon.

The US have so far lost twice, falling 57-5 to world No.2 New Zealand in Hamilton last weekend and 50-7 to Canada in California.

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With only a match remaining, against the Black Ferns, whom Australia have never beaten, the Wallaroos need victory over the Americans to ensure they finish in the top three and to again qualify for the elite WXV 1 competition in Canada in September-October.

The fourth-placed team is relegated to the WXV 2 league.

Veteran Australian fullback Lori Cramer said her side was well aware of the prize at stake.

In the corresponding Pacific Four last year the Wallaroos ran out 58-17 victors over the US.

“It’s huge because if we don’t win we’re not in WXV 1,” Cramer said.

“We want to be top three or four in the world and we played Canada, who were top four at the time and are now ranked three, and give or take a few critical errors and some really good maul execution from them, we were in that game.

Head-to-Head

We do not have any previous games on record.

“We’re not that far off where we’re trying to get to.

Cramer said she knew Fukofuka well, with her fellow Queenslander coaching her and a few of her Australian teammates for the past 10 years.

He spent three years as Wallaroos assistant while he was also an assistant with the Reds Super W side.

“I’m excited to play the US given Sione is their coach,” the 31-year-old said.

“He was our attack coach last year and we were playing really well … he’s a very good coach and he’s very detailed.

“He’s coached a lot of us since we were little kids so he knows us inside and out.

“He’s had us in and around his teams for a long time, probably more around the sevens circuit, but he’s been a huge part of the growth in Queensland and Australian women’s rugby.”





Source link: https://www.rugbypass.com/news/wxv1-spot-on-the-line-as-wallaroos-prepare-for-must-win-usa-clash/

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