Sydney University’s two Australian representatives, Ashleigh Hewson and Grace Hamilton, played in the Wallaroos final match at the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland.

In the play-off for fifth place overall, Canada proved too strong to run out 43-12 winners over the Wallaroos.

Canada ran in seven tries to two against the Australians at Queen’s University in Belfast. Five-eighth Hewson, who injured a hamstring in the opening pool match against host nation Ireland, returned for the play-off and converted one of the Wallaroos tries.

Hamilton was in the starting line-up for all of the Wallaroos matches and now has nine caps to her credit.

New Zealand defeated England 41-32 in a pulsating final, while France defeated the USA 31-23 in the bronze medal match.

Wallaroos coach Paul Verrell, who is retiring from the role on return to Australia, said the loss wasn’t the way the Wallaroos wanted to finish their World Cup campaign.

“The girls have improved exponentially throughout the tournament and a win would have allowed us to finish on a positive note, knocking off a very good Canadian side,” he said.
“We made the task hard for ourselves, losing players through yellow cards, but credit to Canada, they played a great game of Rugby.

“Women’s Rugby is on the rise off the back of the Australian Women’s Sevens Olympic success, and the challenge for the 15-a-side format of the game is to ensure we create a pathway that young girls want to be a part of, and for our players to be role models aspiring young players can look up to.

“We’ve made strides in this space here in Ireland, now the team must continue the good work when we return to Australia.”