Maitland’s Sarah Riordan will have a chance to play on home Hunter soil for the Wallaroos, as the test squad faces Japan at Newcastle’s No.2 Sportsground on July 13, as well as the reverse fixture at North Sydney Oval six days later.
While Brisbane-based Riordan, who last played for Merewether Carlton in the Newcastle & Hunter Rugby Union system before making her move north, is one of 29 players that made the cut. Fellow Hunter products Katrina Barker and Maya Stewart were not selected.
The backs duo represented NSW in the undefeated march to a second Super W title in 2019. They are also currently part of the indominatable ‘Tahs outfit on an eight-game winning streak in the NHRU Women’s Premiership.
They were two of 15 players dropped ahead of the dual tests against the travelling Japanese squad. It will mark the first time the two countries have met in women’s international rugby, and will be Japan’s 39th and 40th tests. They will be Australia’s 50th and 51st.
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While Stewart is still settling into rugby life, Barker being left out of the final 29-player squad was a shock for most. The back was a key part of the Waratahs’ back-to-back championship campaigns, and has been a regular Wallaroos star since 2016.
“Unfortunately for Cheech her style of play doesn’t really suit what we want from our midfield for this series,” Nestor told the Herald earlier this week. “I would hope they are disappointed because missing out on selection should be a big deal.”
The Newcastle test against Japan will be played at the No.2 Sportsground on July 13.