Sydney University rugby backrower Grace Hamilton has been named captain of the Australian Wallaroos for a two-Test series against Japan.

Also in the 29-player squad are Sydney University teammates Emily Chancellor and Sera Naiqama.

Hamilton, who hails from Panuara, south of Orange in the NSW Central West, excelled in netball and athletics before taking up rugby while on a university exchange in the US.

She’s played 11 Tests since making her Australian debut in 2016 and will add to that number when the Wallaroos take on Japan at Newcastle Sportsground on Saturday, 13 July and at North Sydney Oval on Friday, 19 July.

The Wallaroos also have two Tests scheduled against the All Blacks, at Optus Stadium, Perth, on Saturday, 10 August, and at Eden Park, Auckland, on Saturday, 17 August.

Blindside flanker Chancellor was named 2018 Wallaroo Player of the Year after making her Test debut against the New Zealand Black Ferns last season, while lock Naiqama is hoping to make her Test debut this year.

Wallaroos coach Dwayne Nestor has trimmed the squad to include nine players from the NSW Waratahs, the Super W champions for 2019, and 12 from Queensland, the runners-up.  The squad includes 11 uncapped players.

“There were some really difficult selections to be made, but that is a testament to the work ethic of the extended squad and the real depth we are growing following on from the second season of Buildcorp Super W,” Nestor said. 

“Grace (Hamilton) is going to make a fantastic captain in 2019. She’s passionate about this team, passionate about rugby, has a strong drive to win and to set high standards.

“Humble and hardworking she embodies what we want this to team to be about and I know she will be supported by a strong leadership team. 

“The hard work is only just beginning, as we have a massive opportunity this year with the Tests scheduled and I know the squad is looking forward to getting into camp in Newcastle on July 6.”