The Wallaroos have celebrated ending their 956-day Test match drought with an impressive 36-19 defeat of Fiji in Brisbane.
- The Wallaroos had not played a Test since 2019
- They scored seven tries to three against Fiji
- The Wallaroos face Japan on Tuesday
Denied a chance to play a Test since 2019 because of COVID-19, the Wallaroos channeled the emotion of an inspiring and tearful rendition of the national anthem in a clinical performance at Lang Park.
They were pushed by the dangerous Fijians, who boasted a host of talent from Fijiana Drua that recently broke undefeated to the Super W title in their maiden season.
Up by seven points with 20 minutes to play, Wallaroos captain Shannon Parry boldly opted to kick for touch rather than go for a penalty-goal attempt.
It paid off, with a clinical maul from the lineout helping hooker Ashley Marsters score a crucial try.
The result is a boost for the Wallaroos, who will face Japan on Tuesday on the Gold Coast, ahead of the World Cup in New Zealand in October.
The Wallaroos’ backline did the early damage, with center Pauline Piliae claiming player-of-the-match honours.
Winger Mahalia Murphy and pocket rocket winger Ivania Wong were also impressive.
Piliae scored one try and and set two up two more, while Murphy also crossed for a five-pointer.
Veteran prop Liz Patu, in her 24th Test, bagged a try in another impressive shift.
Fijian hooker Vika Matarugu scored two close-range tries in the first half, while Talei Wilson kept the visitors in the contest with a try after sustained pressure in the second term.
But the Wallaroos, anchored by backrower Parry, contained Fijiana’s dangerous backline to stave off any signs of a comeback.
Parry then iced the contest with a try of her own, plucking a pass from Georgie Friedrichs’s line-break.