The former England captain Jo Yapp has been named head coach of the Australian team.
Yapp takes over the Wallaroos on a full-time basis - the first such permanent role of the team.
She takes over from the well liked Jay Tregonning and in doing so will become the only female head coach of an Australian senior national team in a major football code.
Yapp played 70 games for England including at three World Cups in 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cup, captaining them to the Final before moving into coaching.
She joined the England's U20 programme as head coach for five years and then went to Worcester where she was a skills coach and then director of rugby.
She has also coached the Barbarians.
“It is a great honour to be appointed head coach of a proud Rugby nation such as Australia,” said Yapp. "I have fond recollections of battling Australia as a player, and you cannot help but be impressed by the strides the Wallaroos have made in the past couple of years.
“For a semi-professional team to reach the knockout stages of the World Cup last year, and to then finish third in the WXV tournament this year is a huge testament to the talent in the country. I have seen some of that up close in recent years too, with some of the Australian players having stints in the English Premiership.
“I am looking forward to getting started, getting to know the players, and building further towards the 2025 Rugby World Cup.”
Yapp will work closely with National Women’s High-Performance Manager Jaime Fernandez in helping the Wallaroos continue the transition to full-time.
“This appointment is a crucial one as we work towards our goal of continuing to grow Women’s Rugby in Australia,” said CEO Paul Waugh. “It is a huge opportunity for our game as we continue to grow sustainably as investment increases in the coming years.
“We now have our first ever full-time coach of the Wallaroos, we have hired our first Women’s High-Performance Manager, and we are seeing continual year-on-year growth in participation of women and girls in the community.
“England is obviously at the top of the heap in the world of Women’s Rugby at the moment, with a fully professional women’s system that is the envy of most other Rugby-playing nations. Jo has been heavily involved in this system – in the early days as a player, and then as a coach and Director of Rugby as the English system developed into that powerhouse.
“We have been impressed by Jo’s thinking on the game, her attention to detail, and her plans to build a strong high-performance culture – which she has experience doing; many of the players she coached in the England U20s are now the players that are so influential in the senior team.
“Jo is a highly sought-after coach, and I am confident that she is the right person to lead the development of the Wallaroos program as we look towards the next World Cup in England in 2025.”