The Wallaroos have named 13 uncapped players in their 26-strong squad for the three-Test rugby union tour of New Zealand.
Aiming to build off the success of the gold medal-winning sevens team at the Rio Olympics, coach Paul Verrell has selected seven players with experience in the abbreviated game as the Australians look to beat New Zealand for the first time in 12 attempts.
Scrum-half Cobie-Jane Morgan is the most experienced of those, having played eight world series tournaments since her debut in Dubai in 2012.
Utility back Shontelle Stowers, centre Hanna Sio, lock Kirby Sefo and scrum-halves Katrina Baker and Iliseva Batibasaga have also all played varying amounts of international sevens tournaments, while back-rower Mollie Gray also represented Australia at last year’s Pacific Games.
“There are some players with some strong Sevens experience in this squad and have had the experience of a professional culture our Sevens department has created,” Verrell said.
The two teams last met in 2014, with New Zealand winning 34-3.
However the Australians will get their first taste of big-time rugby when they play a historical maiden double-header against New Zealand at Eden Park before the third Bledisloe Test.
That experience is also likely to prove pivotal ahead of next year’s World Cup in Ireland.
“We’re building up a strong squad for the World Cup next year, and this tour will allow us to introduce many talented players to international rugby,” Verrell said.
AUSTRALIAN SQUAD FOR NEW ZEALAND TOUR:
Katrina Barker*, Iliseva Batibasaga, Louise Burrows, Chloe Butler, Cheyenne Campbell, Rebecca Clough, Mollie Gray, Alisha Hewett, Ashleigh Hewson, Ariana Kaiwai*, Ivy Kaleta*, Victoria Latu*, Chloe Leaupepe*, Nareta Marsters*, Cobie-Jane Morgan, Hana Ngaha*, Alanna Patison*, Liz Patu, Madeline Putz, Sarah Riordan*, Emily Robinson*, Oneata Schwalger, Kirby Sefo*, Hanna Sio, Shontelle Stowers*, Venisia Taufa*.