Wallaroos' resurrection ruled out - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallaroos' resurrection ruled out

By Melissa Woods 10/12/2002 05:45:45 PM Comments (0)

Australia's women rugby players haven't given up hope of playing representative football despite the cancellation of their elite program.

Senior players are attempting to resurrect the Wallaroos for a two-Test series against New Zealand next year.

In October the Wallaroos lost their Australian Rugby Union funding when they were downgraded from the elite program to the community rugby unit alongside school development.

The ARU said, with only 1,200 female players registered, the money would be better spent at a grassroots level.

But senior players hoped to keep some semblance of a national side alive with matches against the Black Ferns.

According to Australian flanker Bronnie Mackintosh, the Kiwis want to play two Tests against the Wallaroos in Australia, with New Zealand Rugby, which fully funds their women's program, picking up the tab.

Mackintosh said she had been told the proposal had been knocked back by the ARU.

"We were quite shocked that they (the ARU) knocked it back," Mackintosh said.

"I don't think they have a right to do that.

"Fair enough, if we don't bring them revenue than they have a right to say they don't want to give us any funding.

"But everyone has a right to represent their country in their sport, and if there's other teams to play I just see why they can't approve that we're a national team."

An ARU spokesman said he wasn't aware of the proposal, but believed there was no provision to play a women's Test match.

"To run a national program you're sinking all this money into team assembly costs and we have taken a board level decision that ... we should look at new ways of developing and promoting women's rugby.

"That decision has been taken so in the current climate that's where we stand so it's not possible to play New Zealand in a Test."

Australian captain Selena Worsley, who led the side to fifth place at the women's World Cup in Spain in May, said women's rugby was in a catch-22.

They didn't have the player base to attract funding but without the lure of representative rugby they would struggle to get players.

"We certainly don't want to go against the ARU in any way but we also want to keep it (the Wallaroos) going at the same time.

"Hopefully we can work something out together that's mutually beneficial."

The Wallaroos had hoped to play the series as curtain-raisers before World Cup games in October-November.

But Mackintosh said they'd settle for playing on a local paddock.

"We don't care if we're the curtain-raiser for the curtain-raiser for the curtain-raiser.

"It's the World Cup, the world arena for rugby, why not show that we're happy for everyone to play it."

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