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The Rock-itt : September 2010
As this issue goes to print, the Australian Women's Rugby Union team, the Wallaroos have won their first pool match of the World Cup being played for the next two weeks in Surrey, England. Five players from the Warringah Rats are a core of the 26 woman touring squad that beat Wales on Friday, 26-12. Those players are Captain Cheryl Soon, Chris Ross, Tui Ormsby, Dan Meskell and Cobie-Jane Morgan. For the opening match, coach John Manenti rested Soon and called up Ross and Ormsby as Captain and Vice- captain. The game was extremely physical with 3 players being sinbinned and a nasty head-clash between the Welsh captain and Tui Ormsby. Unfortunately Tui suffered a fractured eye socket and has been ruled out for the rest of the tournament. The next pool match will be Tuesday 24th when the Wallaroos play 4 time World Champions, New Zealand. Whilst they are yet to beat the formidable Black Ferns, in last year's trans-Tasman clash the Wallaroos got a taste of possible victory when they lead for part of the game. That taste combined with the fact that 8 of this World Cup squad were part of the team who beat New Zealand to win the inaugural Women's Rugby 7s World Cup in Dubai last year. With more experience throughout the squad and the important "belief" that they CAN beat the Kiwis, the Wallaroos are well positioned for an early tournament upset. Foxtel are replaying the Australian games the day after they are played -- a huge development in the publicity given to Women's Rugby. In order to get you a personalised feature on the Wallaroos campaign, I will be flying to London tomorrow and arrive in time for the New Zealand game. Having played in two World Cups with the Wallaroos (1998 and 2002), I always look forward to sharing in this amazing experience -- not only as a supporter of our Aussie girls -- especially all my former team-mates from the Warringah Rats -- but as a part of a global family unique to Rugby as a code. It's basically a reunion every four years of anyone who has felt the passion and love for rugby and especially for those who have had the honour of playing at representative level. Pretty much anyone who has played at a level above their local competition has experienced the joys of travel, festivity and camaraderie. Whether it's travelling within your own country or for many the opportunity to travel and play overseas, rugby players tend to relish touring opportunities. We call it the "Package"- the friendships, the hospitality, the playing and the celebrations. I would say that 90% of the travel I have done in the past 20 years has been rugby related -- makes sense given I have played for just over 20 years. Rugby has been the universal language by which so many of us have lived since discovering it. From living in the United States whilst playing for a college team in my early days to teaching under-developed communities in rural Cape Town, South Africa a few years ago, rugby has facilitated some life experiences I will never forget. Besides my 15 test caps, I was also honoured with playing on the World 15 team selected in 2003 in an attempt to beat the New Zealand Black Ferns and have played on several Barbarian teams since I retired. I travelled to Edmonton Canada in 2006 to watch the World Cup and rejoice in the rugby family reunion. Unfortunately Australia hadn't played any test matches since the previous World Cup in Barcelona in 2002 so were not adequately prepared for the level of competition. Now, four years on and with a professional program in place with the Australian Rugby Union, I am excited and optimistic for this campaign. Having played 10 years for Warringah I know that if the Wallaroo's core of Rats' is anything to go by, we have every chance of beating all 12 competing nations to win the World Cup. The Australian pool matches are Wales: Aug 20; New Zealand: Aug 24; South Africa: Aug 28.