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Australia thrash Fijiana 64-5 in women’s rugby union Test
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Australia thrash Fijiana 64-5 in women’s rugby union Test

That’s it from the women’s international here at Allianz Stadium. Thanks for your company and enjoy the second Test in this epic double-header extravaganza. Can the Australian men under new coach Joe Schmidt replicate the Wallaroos thumping victory in their Test against the Red Dragons of Wales? Join Dan Gallan now to find out…

Here’s AAP’s match report of a famous Wallaroos victory

The Wallaroos have snapped a three-match losing streak with a storming 64-5 victory over Fiji in Sydney.

A record-equalling four-try haul from prolific winger Desiree Miller fired Australia to their first Test win of the year on Saturday night.

While Miller lit up Allianz Stadium with a first-half hat-trick and another five-pointer after the break, the 22-year-old flyer was far from the only stand-out.

The Wallaroos had stars across the park, with No 8 Piper Duck typically getting through a power of work and halves Layne Morgan and Arabella McKenzie sparking endless backline attacking raids.

Centres Cecilia Smith and Georgina Friedrichs fed their teammates beautifully, while skipper Michaela Leonard, her second-row partner Kaitlan Leaney and prop Brianna Hoy were all powerhouses in a dominant Wallaroos pack.

Smith, prop Eva Karpani and replacement forwards Siokapesi Palu, Trilleen Pomare, Tiarna Molloy and Bridie O’Gorman also crossed in the 10-tries-to-one rout as the Wallaroos won for the first time since beating Wales 25-19 in Auckland last November.

The night, though, belonged to Miller, who entered the history books as the first Australian woman to bag four tries in a Test since Ruan Sims against South Africa at the 2006 World Cup in Canada.

The fifth-ranked Wallaroos had been desperate to atone for finishing last in this year’s Pacific Four series following losses to New Zealand, Canada and the USA – and they duly delivered.

The one-sided victory certainly didn’t look on the cards when winger Adita Milinia crossed for the opening try of the match to give the Fijiana a 5-0 lead after 12 minutes.

But the Wallaroos never looked back after Miller collected her first two tries, in the space of three minutes, to hit the front.

The hosts led 22-5 at the break after Karpani touched down from a driving maul and Miller completed her first-half treble. There was no let-up after the break as the Wallaroos ultimately piled on 64 unanswered points after their early defensive breach.

Celebrations will likely by short-lived as Jo Yapp’s side prepare to face New Zealand next Sunday in Brisbane, less than two months after copping a 67-19 hiding from the Black Ferns in Auckland.

A month ago, Australia went winless in the Pacific Four Series and dropped to the second tier of women’s rugby. But tonight they sent a warning shot to the world, with a dazzling 10-try demolition of a much-fancied Fijiana side.

Flying winger Desiree Miller won Woman of the Match for her four-try blitz in 30 minutes but veteran No 8 Piper Duck was outstanding in the clinches as usual and No 10 Arabella McKenzie steered the ship with aplomb. Hard to believe Fijiana scored first to lead this Test in the 12th minute when Milinia crossed. What an anomaly. It was one-way traffic thereafter as Australia reigned supreme in all departments of the game.

They ran for 825m to Fijiana’s 234, made 12 clean breaks to Fijiana’s 3 and missed only 10 tackles and made 67 where Fijiana missed 56 and made 189. Those stats tell the story but it was the cohesion of the Wallaroos attack, both upfront and out wide, that impressed most. They built steam steadily then set the game ablaze when it mattered most. A great Test and a great way to whet the appetite for Wallabies v Wales to come!

Desiree Miller was dragged down inches short of a fifth try but, even in the 80th minute, the Wallaroos gold rush can’t be stopped as Bridie O’Gorman finally gets her dues and crashes over to notch Australia a tenth and final try. The fulltime siren sounds on a famous Wallaroos victory!

Cramer adds the extras to that barrelling forward rush and it’s officially a thrashing now.

75 minutes: Australia keep coming. Now they’re closing on a ninth try and it’s Bridie O’Gorman charging hard into the teeth of the weary Fijiana defenders. They bring her down but two tackles later she’s coming again. Again the powerful forward falls short but the pick and drive has broken the white wall

70 minutes: Queensland Reds halfback Natalie Wright is off the bench and on the field for her debut Test, and right from the get-go the former Sevens star gave great service from the scrumbase to set that last chain of hands in motion for Pomare’s second five-pointer. Both team’s benches have been emptied now and we’ll have a lineout on halfway with Fijiana to throw.

A lovely inside pass from Cecilia Smith puts No 22 Trilleen Pomare over for her second try! Lori Cramer adds the extras to get the Wallaroos to a handsome half-century on the scoreboard.

64 minutes: Fiji are – gasp! – on the attack and have a lineout on the Australian 22. But they botch it as the ball flies long and Australia take back possession. A huge clearing kick hands it back to Fijiana on the halfway but they cough it up in contact and again Desiree Miller scoots away. They drag her down 20m short but Australia aren’t done.

A lovely flat fast ball for Piper Duck puts the No 8 in the clear. She makes 15m and then slips a ball inside to new replacement Trilleen Pomare who stretches her long fresh legs and the big No 22 puts pedal to metal and gets there! Big smiles in the coach’s box as Jo Yapp finally celebrates her first victory as Australian coach. And what a win it is!

They’re in again! A great run by Cramer got the Wallaroos on the front foot. Ravutia had wobbled another bomb out of trouble but the Australian fullback hit it at speed and drew defenders to the right. Again the Wallaroos were quick from the ruck and went lkeft at lighting pace. This time it was Siokapesi Palu bullocking onto the pass. Fijiana get to her late but momentum carries her over and she coathangers an arm over the stripe for another try. What a victory this is becoming for Jo Yapp’s side.

52 minutes: Finally the bust comes for Fijiana in the form of Mereoni Nakesa charging up ther guts. But plays stops on the halfway and Australia take back the ball. Wallaroos No 1 Brianna Hoy has left the field and been replaced by Allana Sikimeti the 178cm tall 20-year-old debutante from the Brumbies. That misty cloud of rain has disappeared but the players are still finding the ball slippery.

50 minutes: Another wobbly kick by Fijiana flyhalf Jennifer Ravutia puts Australia on the attack again, this time through McKenzie and Cecilia Smith. Cujt down out wide, they try a more direct approach – give it to Eva Karpani the 110kg wrecking ball from Campbelltown. She makes a few metres but a great hit by Vika Matarugu kills the threat. Fijiana remain pinned in their quarter but they’re retaining possession.

Fast Australian hands beat tired Fijiana legs as Morgan ducks out from the scrumbase and finds her No 10 McKenzie at speed. It’s four on four but not for long as Cramer draws two then delivers another giftwrapped pass to Miller on the fly. Four tries for the Waratahs winger!

45 minutes: Almost another try to Australia! But desperate Fijiana line defence drags down debutante winger Biola Dawa inches from the line. The Wallaroos win the penalty though and will opt for a scrum five metres from the line. Massive pressure for Fijiana now. If they buckle here the floodgates might open.

41 minutes: Here we go with the second half and Australia pick up where they left off, with a flurry of fast passes and finally a reefing kick to the Fijiana 22. Keleni Marawa sends it straight down the middle at the lineout and Fijiana go wide. But oh no! Flyhalf Jenniffer Ravutia has put the kick over the line on the full. Fijiana look a bit rattled…

Wallaroos coach Jo Yapp will be very happy with that half of football. Fijiana shot out of the blocks to score first and put the home side on their heels. But the Wallaroos showed composure to hit back quickly, with winger Desiree Miller crossing for a hat-trick of tries. Eva Karapani then iced a strong performance at the setpiece with a classic forwards try, diving over from a rolling maul. Australia go to the break ahead in all facets – four-tries-to-one, 373m against just 72m for Fijiana, six linebreaks to Fijiana’s solitary bust. Best of all, the Wallaroos haven’t missed a tackle whereas Fijiana have missed 23!

40 minutes: Piper Duck makes a charge but Layne Morgan goes left when she should’ve gone right. She finds hooker Tania Naden bludging on the blindside when she wanted a flyer. Naden tries to get the ball to Miller on her outside but the defence drags her down. Fijniana recover the ball and hoof it downfield, seeingly too dead on their feet to attack. Lori Cramer steps one and feeds an inside ball back to Dawa but again she’s tackled before she get those legs winding up. Play breaks down and that’ll do us for the first half – a fantastic one for Australia!

39 minutes: Fijiana badly need a score before halftime. They’re 25m out and there’s fresh legs in the second row. Morgan will feed for Australia but again it’s a big tackle by Buna in her azure headgear that stops the Wallaroos backs in therir tracks. They recover to find the line on halfway. What can they conjure from the lineout?

35 minutes: Duck loses it forward and Fiji will have the scrumfeed on halfway. They’re so desperate they’ve sent out two players, both wearing the No 7 jersey! Might be me seeing double… Either way it puts a pep in the visitor’s step as they find open space on the left and a kick and chase pins Australia on their line. A light mist of rain falling now.

That was silky smooth by the Wallaroos set-piece. A sharp fast straight throw by Naden a brilliant jump and catch by Kaitlan Leaney and then a smart short ball to Miller flying by on the fringes. The blonde No 11 goes over untouched, pigtails flying in her wake.

31 minutes: Again Australia burn Fijiana on the edges. They hang on but the Wallaroos are on the enemy 22 and setting up for another wave of attack from the lineout. Tania Naden puts it straight down the middfle and the jumpers find a gold flash when they hit terra firma.

28 minutes: There’s some calm after the storm as loose hands from the Australians stifle another raid down the right. Fiji look exhausted after the 19-point onslaught by the Walaroos and Loraini Senivutu has run on as fresh legs. Fiji to feed a scrum on their 30m line. They roll it over halfway but the pass to Buna is high and wide and Cecilia Smith’s attempts to pick it up and ping away come to a halt when she fumbles forward.

This has been some Wallaroos blitrzkrieg. First it was Miller blazing on the edges now it’s Eva Karpani rolling over Fijiana through the forwards. She touches down and McKenzie adds the extras. Handy lead opening up for the home side here.

23 minutes: Another great burst by the Wallaroos, this time right through the middle but again Fiji manage to snuff Dawa just as those heels take wing. But Australia will get a penalty 1`0 metres from the stripe. McKenzie looks to the sideline not the goal. The Wallaroos want the try and they win the lineout to set it up. Big push in the ensuing maul…

Great shift from the home side and again Miller has the aspeed, the swertve and the smarts to elude the defence. Another try in the corner and this time Arabella McKenzie converts. Wallaroos are in front and looking good.

The Wallaroos hit back! Biola Dawa has a run then hangs on in heavy traffic down the right. Now Australia go coast-to-coast, moving at speed to the left and fast passes and a couple of fumbles finally find Desiree Miller in the clear. She swerves one, palms another and scores in the corner! Good hit back by the Wallaroos

That was too easy for Fijiana. The gold lineout melted like butter and the blind side overflap put Milinia over in the corner for today’s first score. Kick falls short.

12 minutes: Fijiana are in Australian territory for the first time in the Test match. Tania Naden will throw from the 30-metre mark and Piper Duck carries it into the teeth of the white jerseys again. Bang! Outside centre Atelaite Buna has just crunched Lori Cramer. What a tackle! Ball lost forward by Australia and Fiji will mount a new raid from a lineout 40m out.

1oth minute: Australia with all the ball and all the momentum. But so far each attacking burst has been snuffed by stout goal line defence. We’ll have a scrum metres out but first there’s some running repairs on Fijiana forward Nunia Daunimoala. Finally we get the feed and Fijiana clear but again McKenzie’s pass to Cramer isn’t in sync and the ball is lost forward

Eight minutes: McKenzie found fullback Lori Cramer on the charge but the raid came to bnothing as a bootlaces tackle brings her down. The Wallaroos head right but thgerfe’s no way through so Layne Morgan brings it back to the right. But there’s panic in the air and the final pass goes behind Desiree Miller and over the sideline.

Six minutes: Fijiana get themselves out of the red zone with a smart kick that clears debutante Biola Dawa. But Australia have stolen the lineout and spun it wide. It goes to ground but Fijiana have infringed at the ruck. McKenzie spurns the three to chase five. Australia on the attack again, just seven metres out.

4th minute: Good phase play from the Wallaroos but Leilani Nathan’s attempt to scoot down the blindside is brought to a quick end by a fierce tackle from Atelaite Buna. Australia retain possession though and go right. They win a frree kick and opt for the lineout five metres from Fijiana line. But the throw is a stray one and the visitors take back possession. Bright start from the Wallaroos. Big scrum coming up, Fijiana to feed.

1st minute: Fijiana Asinate Serevi takes the kickoff cleanly and the women in white kick it straight back. Piper Duck, in her distinctive pink headgear, fields the worm burner and has a run. Australia on the attack and nearing the Fijiana 22…

Rousing stuff by the choirs. Now it’s time for the players to make some sweet music… Australia to kickoff to the Paddington end

Teams have taken the field, fands are trickling into their seats and the big gold flag is centre stage. Time for the anthems. First up it will be God Bless Fiji by the 28-strong Canterbury Church Choir

Just had word the Allianz gates are opening now and fans are finally entering. Right in the nick of time too as we have the flagbearers and choirs massing in the middle…

Strange scenes at the SFS. We are supposedly seven minutes from kickoff but there is not a soul in the stadium beyond the players warming up on the field, the coaching staff on the sidelines and the fourth estate in the press box. There’s rumbling of an alarm that’s gone off and prevented people entering the ground. Might be a delay here, folks.

Jo Yapp played 70 Tests for her native England but the Red Roses legend’s reign as Australian coach is off to a rocky start…

Running a sharper eye over those team sheets you’ll see Wagga Reddie junior Biola Dawa on the wing in place of Maya Stewart who tweaked a hamstring this week.

Waratahs lock Kaitlan Leaney returns in the second row, the lone change to the starting pack from the Pacific Four toujrnament. It shifts Atasi Lafai to blindside flanker, with Siokapesi Palu on the bench alongside debutants Allana Sikimeti and Lydia Kavoa.

Layne Morgan starts at halfback with Nat Wright in line to debut as her deputy. Morgan’s Waratahs halves partner Arabella McKenzie runs out at No 10. Experienced fullback Lori Cramer is also back, having missed the Test against New Zealand.

Here are the WALLAROOS (15-1): Lori Cramer, Biola Dawa, Georgina Friedrichs, Cecilia Smith, Desiree Miller, Arabella McKenzie, Layne Morgan, Piper Duck, Leilani Nathan, Atasi Lafai, Michaela Leonard (c), Kaitlan Leaney, Eva Karpani, Tania Naden, Brianna Hoy

Replacements: Tiarna Molloy, Allana Sikimeti, Bridie O’Gorman, Siokapesi Palu, Lydia Kavoa, Natalie Wright, Trilleen Pomare, Faitala Moleka

FIJIANA (15-1): Luisa Tisolo, Merewairita Neivosa, Atelaite Buna, Liti Lawedrau, Adita Millinia, Jeniffer Ravutia, Evivi Senikarivi, Kara Naisewa, Sulita Waisega, Nunia Daunimoala, Asinate Serevi, Mereoni Nakesa, Tiana Robakadavu, Keleni Marawa, Bitila Tawake

Replacements: Litia Marama, Loraini Senivutu, Vika Mararugu, Doreen Narokete, Ema Adivitaloga, Setaita Railumu, Salanieta Kinita, Repeka Tove

Hello rugby lovers and welcome to Gadigal land for the women’s rugby Test between Australia and Fijiana at the Sydney Football Stadium.

After a wet week, we have blue but cloudy skies for today’s game and no rain forecast. It means hopes are high for a fast and entertaining game in this first instalment of today’s Test rugby festivities, with the Wallabies to take on Wales immediately after.

History is on the home team’s side – there have been two Tests between these nations and Australia has won both, including last year’s encounter, a 22-5 triumph in Sydney.

After a winless Pacific Four Series, the Wallaroos are desperate for their first win of the season and their maiden victory under new coach Jo Yapp. However, form is on the side of the visitors, with Fijiana coming off a stirring 24-15 win over Japan in Lautoka.

While Fijiana will field a team studded with stars from the Super W decider, Yapp is still searching for combinations. The Englishwoman has named four debutants today, with Brumbies flyer Biola Dawa the most keenly awaited rookie in the starting side.

Dawa has plenty of experience behind her with Arabella McKenzie and Eva Karpani set to play their 25th games in gold and captain Michaela Leonard, the pride of the Tuggeranong Vikings, her 26th.

“It’s been nice to be back in Sydney and the players are working hard to put in a good performance against Fiji on Saturday,” Yapp told us earlier in the week. “Our team has been building well and we are looking forward to seeing how they go.”

Us too, Jo. Stay tuned for the team sheets and official preliminaries. Kick-off is 4.45pm AEST in Sydney.

Source: theguardian.com