Celebrating Waratahs players.
The title-winning Waratahs have had 13 players selected in the latest Wallaroos squad. Image by Darren England/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby union

NSW Waratahs stars dominate 30-strong Wallaroos squad

Darren Walton April 30, 2024

Prolific wingers Desiree Miller and Maya Stewart are among 13 triumphant NSW Waratahs players picked in a 30-strong changing-of-the-guard Wallaroos squad for the upcoming Pacific Four series.

Miller and Stewart bagged 24 tries between them during the Waratahs’ unbeaten Super Rugby Women’s campaign that culminated with a 50-14 rout of two-time defending champions, the Fijian Drua, in Sunday’s grand final.

NSW teammates Eva Karpani, Brianna Hoy, Bridie O’Gorman, Kaitlan Leaney, Atasi Lafai, Leilani Nathan, Piper Duck, Layne Morgan, Arabella McKenzie, Georgina Friedrichs and Caitlyn Halse also made the squad.

Halse is among nine international newcomers in line to make their Wallaroos debut against Canada at Allianz Stadium on May 11.

But the inclusion of the batch of rookies comes at the exclusion of a raft of big names including former captain Grace Hamilton, Emily Robinson and Sera Naiqama.

“We really picked players that are on form,” Wallaroos coach Jo Yapp said after also naming 20 players involved in last year’s O’Reilly Cup and WXV campaigns.

“You’ve obviously always got one eye on the (2025) World Cup and what players you’re going to be looking for towards that with.

“So giving these young players an opportunity now gives them a chance.

“They key thing is those players that have missed out we’re having conversations with them and being really clear about what they need to do to get back in.

“The door’s not shut at any point.”

A further 10 development players will also join camp ahead of the opening game in Sydney.

Western Force lock Michaela Leonard will continue her role as captain for the series.

Michaela Leonard.
 Michaela Leonard takes the ball forward during the Force’s Super Rugby season. Image by Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS 

Leonard is be joined in the pack by experienced forwards Karpani, O’Gorman and Melbourne Rebels hooker Ashley Marsters while Duck returns to the squad after missing last season due to injury and captaining the Tahs to their record fifth Super crown.

The other uncapped players named range from Halse’s fellow teenagers Shalom Sauaso and Allana Sikimeti to 32-year-old Sally Fuesaina, who has earned a position after strong performances for the 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.

“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,” said Yapp.

“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.”

After hosting Canada in Sydney, the Wallaroos shift to Melbourne to 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, Eva Karpani, Brianna Hoy, Bridie O’Gorman, Sally Fuesaina, Hera-Barb Malcolm Heke, Tania Naden, Kaitlan Leaney, Michaela Leonard (capt), Tiarah Minns, Ashley Marsters, Atasi Lafai, Leilani Nathan,
Lydia Kavoa, Siokapesi Palu, Piper Duck, Tabua Tuinakauvadra, Layne Morgan, Samantha Wood, Arabella McKenzie, Faitala Moleka, Cecilia Smith, Georgina Friedrichs, Shalom Sauaso, Trilleen Pomare, Biola Dawa, Desiree Miller, Maya Stewart, Caitlyn Halse, Lori Cramer.