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Australia & Fiji announce World Cup training squads

In the last week both Fiji and Australia have named their first training squads for the World Cup

Fijiana in training at the Nadi International School grounds (Fiji TImes)

Australia

Head Coach Dwayne Nestor has named 15 Test debutants in the squad as Australia continues its preparation for Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand.

After the cancellation of its test series with New Zealand, this is the first look at a possible Australian team for the World Cup. 32 players have been selected to attend the World Cup traning camp, with a further 13 named as "Players of Interest" who are currently unavailable, generally though injury. The new call ups include former Bristol Bear Aleena Greenhalgh, and Hilisha Samoa - who hasn’t played in the Green-and-Gold since the last World Cup in 2017, where she was named as Australia's Rugby Player of the Year.. 

The camp follows on from the exapanded Chikarovski Cup in New South Wales and ACT last month which, along with games in Queensland (but, controversially, nothing in Western Australia), organised to replace the New Zealand games.

Buildcorp Wallaroos Head Coach, Dwayne Nestor said: “This is a huge opportunity for some of these young players to really stand up ahead of what is going to be a massive 2021 with the World Cup right on our doorstep. 

“We have been adaptive in a challenging 2021, but we have still seen some really good quality Rugby through Buildcorp Super W, our club competitions, the Queensland Select match and the Chikarovski Cup which has allowed us to really see some of these young players coming through. 

“We have also had a few injuries to some of our core players from last year and we have opted to let them continue their rehab in their respective states, which allows us to look at a few more people. “The hard work continues in Canberra and I know the whole squad is looking forward to re-connecting after so many virtual sessions.”      

Last week the Wallaroos journey at the tournament was confirmed, which will see Australia take on the tournament hosts as well as Wales and the Final Qualifier winner in the battle of Pool A.   

2020 Buildcorp Wallaroos training squad 
Iliseva Batibasaga, NSW Waratahs  
Emily Chancellor, NSW Waratahs 
Georgia Cormick, Melbourne Rebels
Lori Cramer, Queensland Reds
Piper Duck*, NSW Waratahs 
Georgina Freidrichs*, NSW Waratahs 
Anita Faimasui-Brown*, NSW Waratahs 
Aleena Greenhalgh*, Queensland Reds
Grace Hamilton (c), NSW Waratahs 
Ariana Hira-Herangi, Rugby WA 
Eva Karpani, NSW Waratahs 
Grace Kemp*, Brumbies
Atasi Lafai, NSW Waratahs 
Michaela Leonard, Brumbies 
Ashlee Makim*, NSW Waratahs
Nareta Marsters, Queensland Reds
Arabella McKenzie, NSW Waratahs
Averyl Mitchell, Queensland Reds
Lillyann Mason*, NSW Waratahs 
Jemima McCalman*, NSW Waratahs 
Tiarah Minns*, Melbourne Rebels  
Layne Morgan*, NSW Waratahs 
Gabby Peterson*, Brumbies 
Pauline Pilae*, NSW Waratahs 
Trilleen Pomare, Rugby WA 
Hilisha Samoa, Queensland Reds 
Oneata Schwalger, NSW Waratahs 
Christina Sekona, Queensland Reds   
Cecilia Smith*, Queensland Reds
Tayla Stanford*, Brumbies 
Maya Stewart*, NSW Waratahs 
Ashleigh Walker*, Melbourne Rebels 
* denotes Test debutants

The following players are not attending camp due to injury or unavailability, however, remain in the Wallaroo Player of National Interest squad.
Bree-Anna Cheatham, Queensland Reds
Fiona Jones, NSW Waratahs 
Lucy Lockhart, Queensland Reds
Emma Masi, Brumbies 
Ashleigh Marsters, Melbourne Rebels
Shannon Mato, Queensland Reds
Michelle Milward, Brumbies 
Mahalia Murphy, NSW Waratahs 
Sera Naiqama, NSW Waratahs
Emily Robinson, NSW Waratahs 
Tasmin Sheppard, NSW Waratahs 
Adriana Talakai, NSW Waratahs 
Zahara Tamara, Queensland Reds

Fiji

Fiji named 71 players in an extended Fijiana XVs squad for a training camp that took place last week. The squad was announced by head coach Senirusi Seruvakula after the completion of the National 10s competition at Tavua’s Garvey Park.

Seruvakula said the squad selected were the cream of women’s rugby players in the country who participated in the Fiji Rugby Union’s 2020 Skipper Cup, 2020 Vodafone Vanua competition, the Regional 10s event and the National 10s competition.

“The composition of the squad includes some young girls,” he said. “It’s a mixture of experienced players who participated in the qualifiers late last year with new talents identified during the various women’s competitions this year.

“It wasn’t easy selecting the extended squad and am very impressed with the abundance of women ruggers in the country. We are going to rotate them in regards to their level of understanding about the system. Some players would be dropped and we would be in camp every month.”

The extended squad boasts includes familiar names from Fiji's sevens squad, including Lavenia Tinai and Ana Maria Roqica.

The squad:
Forwards: 1. Vika Matarubu 2. Makereta Tunidau 3. Litia Marama 4. Joma Sera 5. Sereima Leweniqila 6. Josivini Gusivalu 7. Laisa Taga 8. Akosita Raratabu 9. Karalaini Nasewa 10. Maria Marawa 11. Lanieta Lala 12. Laisa Vosa 13. Aliti Vosabiai 14. Mariana Talatoka 15. Merewai Cumu 16. Mere Tuidama 17. Senimelia Waqa 18. Maria Narara 19. Sereima Rauqe 20. Rusila Nagasau 21. Vasiti Turaganisolevu 22. Isabella Koi 23. Salanieta Railumu 24. Emily Taylor 25. Akosita Lete 26. Luisa Kunadua 27. Margaret Tabuanitoga 28. Fulori Nabura 29. Bulou Wainikiti 30. Doreen Narokete 31. Verenaisi Bari 32. Keleni Marawa 33. Ilivani Biukula 34. Ema Adivitaloga 35. Eunice Rainima 36. Torika Semo 37. Mere Moto 38. Nioni Nai and 39. Lavenia Tinai. Backs: 1. Mereula Torooti 2. Ana Maria Roqica 3. Setaita Railumu 4. Tokasa Seniyasi 5. Livia Nadei 6. Lusia Basei 7. Seleima Vuidravuwalu 8. Sisilia Namatasere 9. Mereani Moceituba 10. Mela Matanatabu 11. Ro Ela Radiniyavuni 12. Sesenieli Donu 13. Vasiti Solikoviti 14. Vitalina Naikore 15. Ana Maria Naimasi 16. Adi Vani Buleki 17. Miliakere Raluve 18. Raijieli Daveua 19. Losana Bainivalu 20. Aloesi Nakoci 21. Adi Ana Rawailala 22. Litiana Vueti 23. Taraivini Adiraba 24. Rusila Tamoi 25. Priscilla Siata 26. Loata Rokobe 27. Mereani Solevu 28. Virisila Radovu 29. Reapi Uluinasau 30. Lavena Cavuru 31. Laisana Likuceva 32. Asena Rokomarama