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The Rock-itt : October 2010
Although the Australian Wallaroos have not returned home with the coveted World Champions Title, they again proved they are worthy contenders, finishing third overall and sending a clear message to all nations that winning the World Cup is only a matter of time. The campaign was particularly successful for the six Warringah Rugby Club players in particular Captain and Vice Captain Cheryl Soon and Chris Ross. Chris Ross was a surprise announcement when she was picked as Captain for the first test against Wales and she cemented her leadership on and off the field throughout the tour. She also started and played every minute of all five games -- earning her the "Ironman" award (insert "wo"). Australia had drawn a relatively tough pool needing to beat Wales, the 4 times World Champions, New Zealand and South Africa in order to progress automatically to the semis. Aust vs Wales (26-12) Australia had most of the possession in the first half until Wales realised their best attacking options would be through the forwards. Set pieces seemed challenging for the Wallaroos in particular their lineout ball but phase play was steadied when Cheryl Soon resumed her halfback position. An injury to Vice-captain and Warringah player, Tui Ormsby after a brutal head clash with the Welsh captain saw Tobie McGann take the field early in the first half. Unfortunately for Ormsby, the clash resulted in a fractured eye socket ruling her out of the rest of the tournament. This was a huge loss for the Wallaroos and spelled devastation for Ormsby. Tournament rugby is often a war of attrition and the teams that play through to the final four are those who have managed their playing combinations, injuries and special plays so as to not reveal too much too early. This first test for Australia certainly provided opportunity for testing combinations and also allowed the players to experience the varied interpretations of Northern Hemisphere referees. Three yellow cards were given in the match, all to Australia and two simultaneously, leaving the Wallaroos to play a ten minute period with only 13 players. Player of the match was fullback Tricia Brown who scored the Wallaroo's fourth try to secure the bonus point and keep them equal with New Zealand in the pool. Aust vs New Zealand (5-32) The Surrey Sports Fields were abuzz with the anticipation of the Australia-New Zealand match. Every rugby supporter knows the passion evoked by these two rugby nations and have come to expect a spirited contest every time. Completely by surprise I was bestowed with the huge honour of presenting the Wallaroos with their test jerseys for the match. Known for the occasional emotional tirade my 2 minute speech cap kept me focussed but nonetheless emotional inside at the first opportunity a former player has had to share in this important pre-game ritual. Having played at Warringah for ten years, I was especially proud to