Sydney University Women’s Rugby Club’s Iliseva Batibasaga has been recalled to the Wallaroos ranks for the upcoming two-Test series against the New Zealand Black Ferns.
The experienced halfback is one of three changes to the Wallaroos squad that accounted for Japan in a recent two-Test series played at Newcastle Showground and North Sydney Oval.
Sydney University team-mates Grace Hamilton (the Wallaroos No.8 and captain) and Emily Chancellor have also been selected for the Tests. The matches will take place at Optus Stadium, Perth, on Saturday the 10th of August, and at Eden Park, Auckland, on Saturday the 17th of August. Both of which are preliminaries to Bledisloe Cup matches between the Wallabies and All Blacks.
Hamilton, who was named player of the match in each of the two Tests against Japan, backed that up on Tuesday night when she was named NSW’s Super Player of the Year. While openside flanker Chancellor was in the starting side for both encounters against Japan.
Brisbane-born Batibasaga moved south to join the Sydney University Club after representing Australia in two Rugby Sevens World Cups in Dubai in 2009 and Moscow in 2013. She has also represented Australia in two 15-a-side World Cups – in England in 2010 and France in 2014.
Wallaroos coach Dwayne Nestor said the Australians have two great challenges against New Zealand over the next month.
“We’re really looking forward to the challenge,” Nestor said. “As a coaching group, we have had some great selection headaches over the past month with every player in the squad putting their hands up for selection in the starting XV.
That attitude is key for the next three weeks and we’re looking forward to reconvening in Perth and getting back into the hard work.”
The squad, ranked seventh in the world, were excited to be playing in front of a sold-out crowd in Perth. “A double-header Test at Optus Stadium is going to make for a great occasion and the squad has really talked about making sure that we rise to that and work hard for each other in the gold jersey,” he said.