Teenage prodigy Sauaso on fast track to Wallaroos debut

Darren Walton |

Exciting teenage Queensland centre Shalom Sauaso has been included in the Wallaroos squad.
Exciting teenage Queensland centre Shalom Sauaso has been included in the Wallaroos squad.

Wallaroos coach Jo Yapp is only too happy to fast track Shalom Sauaso’s path to the international stage as the prodigy weighs up rugby versus a professional career in rugby league.

Sauaso was among three teenagers named in Yapp’s 30-strong Four Nations series squad on Tuesday and could earn a Test debut in next week’s clash with Canada at Allianz Stadium.

The 16-year-old Queensland Reds centre is also on a development contract  at the Brisbane Broncos but can’t play in the NRLW until she’s 18.

Yap is aware that any opportunities to shine on the big stage in rugby may sway Sauaso to commit to the 15-a-side code long term.

“We want her to come in and enjoy her rugby, like that’s the first and foremost,” Yapp said.

“With rugby, it’s such a great global game and there’s so many opportunities in it.

“So she’s coming in because she’s been outstanding and in outstanding form at her Super club.

“So she’s really deserving of a place.”

Yapp has no doubt Sauaso will make it in whichever code the Queensland under-17s rugby league captain plays.  

“Look, from day one when we saw her in the trial game at Roma, you could see that she was a very special player,” the coach said.

“She’s absolutely held her own in every game that she’s played in for the Reds and the physicality that she’s shown.

“And we’ve had some really good conversations and I’ve met with her with her parents and we’ve chatted through stuff and, ultimately, it’s an opportunity for her to come into camp and to grow with some of the obviously more senior players.

“It’s just a massive opportunity to develop her.”

After hosting Canada in Sydney, the Wallaroos shift to Melbourne to take on the USA at AAMI Park on May 17.

Their final match of the series will be played in Auckland against New Zealand on May 25.