Batibasaga benched for Wallaroos RWC QF
Goalkeeper midfielder Iliseva Batibasaga was benched for the Wallaroos Rugby World Cup quarter-finals against tournament favorite England.
Batibasaga, who scored the goal in Australia’s decisive win over Wales last weekend, will start as a reserve, with manager Jay Tregonning choosing instead to start with Layne Morgan at number 9.
Captain Shannon Parry, who will once again lead the Wallaroos, said Morgan was chosen for her first tournament start because her qualities were particularly suited to the England game.
“His distribution is very good, but it’s more about his speed in getting into the ruck and getting the ball out,” he told AAP.
“We’re trying to play a little bit more of a rhythm game.”
Tregonning made three changes and a small reshuffle to their ranks for Sunday’s game at Waitakere Stadium in Auckland.
Lori Cramer moved to the flank in the absence of Ivania Wong, with Pauline Piliae-Rasabale returning to the starting lineup in defense after two reserve games.
Wong took a “bump” basically to rule it out, Parry said.
Grace Kemp will make her first start in New Zealand despite a yellow card in the 70th minute adding danger in the finale to the Wallaroos’ victory over Wales.
The last owner, Atasi Lafai, leaves the team for the day.
Mahalia Murphy and Cecilia Smith have been called up as a reserve, each lined up for their first appearance in the tournament.
Having called their main training session “Test Tuesday” throughout the tournament, the Wallaroos have now moved on to “World Cup Wednesday” as they try to cause a major upset.
England have a world record of 28 straight wins and have yet to concede a World Cup point in the first 20 minutes.
The Red Roses have never failed to reach the semi-finals of a World Cup and have beaten Australia in each of their five career fights.
“There is no pressure on us. We can just go out there and play football, ”Parry said.
“Records are meant to be broken. So let’s try to do it this Sunday. “
Tregonning said his team firmly embraced the underdog label, just as they did prior to their Eden Park opening with New Zealand.
“Our mindset is the same as in the opening game. There is no pressure on us, the pressure is on England to perform, “she said.