Australia preparations for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 will step up on Thursday with the start of the three-day National Women’s Championship in Sydney with a 44-strong squad to be named at its conclusion.
Eight teams – NSW Country, Sydney, Brumbies Rugby, Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland, Australian Services and South Australia – will contest the championship at St Ignatius’ College Riverview.
A number of familiar faces from Australia’s squad which finished a best ever third at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2010 in England will be in action, hoping to impress new Wallaroos head coach Paul Verrell.
Among them are Tui Ormsby, Ashleigh Hewson, Chris Ross, Danielle Meskell, Cobie-Jane Morgan and Tricia Brown, who will captain the defending champions Queensland.
One player to keep an eye on could be Chloe Butler, the Los Angeles-based American Football player who is returning to her roots in Australia and hoping to catch the eye.
Butler was at the Australian Institute of Sport in her quest to hurdle at the London Olympic Games in 2012, but a series of stress fractures held her back and she instead turned to American Football.
The selected squad will attend a training camp in February and will then be reduced to 26 players who will travel to New Zealand to play the four-time defending world champion Black Ferns and Canada in June.
Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 takes place from 1-17 August in France.