Wallaroos thump Fiji to post first Test win of the year

Darren Walton |

Desiree Miller (right) has scored four tries as the Wallaroos romped to a 64-5 win over Fiji.
Desiree Miller (right) has scored four tries as the Wallaroos romped to a 64-5 win over Fiji.

The Wallaroos have snapped a three-match losing streak with a storming 64-5 victory over Fiji in Sydney.

A record-equalling four-try haul from prolific winger Desiree Miller fired Australia to their first Test win of the year on Saturday night.

“Definitely a team effort, but an incredible game by her,” said triumphant Wallaroos captain Michaela Leonard.

“Desi’s an incredible athlete, incredibly strong, incredibly powerful and fast and an incredible finishing power by her tonight off the back of some great work from our forward pack.”

Indeed.

While Miller lit up Allianz Stadium with a first-half hat-trick and another five-pointer after the break, the 22-year-old flyer was far from the only stand-out.

Desiree Miller power down the wing for the Wallaroos v Fiji.
The Miller’s Tale: Desiree Miller grabbed the headlines as the Fijiana were blown away in Sydney. (James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS)

The Wallaroos had stars across the park, with No.8 Piper Duck typically getting through a power of work and halves Layne Morgan and Arabella McKenzie sparking endless backline attacking raids.

Centres Cecilia Smith and Georgina Friedrichs fed their teammates beautifully, Leonard, her second-row partner Kaitlan Leaney and prop Brianna Hoy were all powerhouses in a dominant Wallaroos pack.

“A massive step for us, a great night,” Leonard said after the opening match of a double-header also featuring the Wallabies against Wales.

“Really proud of everyone. The improvements were were really obvious.”

Smith, prop Eva Karpani and replacement forwards Siokapesi Palu, Trilleen Pomare, Tiarna Molloy and Bridie O’Gorman also crossed in the 10-tries-to-one rout as the Wallaroos won for the first time since beating Wales 25-19 in Auckland last November.

The night, though, belonged to Miller, who entered the history books as the first Australian woman to bag four tries in a Test since Ruan Sims against South Africa at the 2006 World Cup in Canada.

The fifth-ranked Wallaroos had been desperate to atone for finishing last in this year’s Pacific Four series following losses to New Zealand, Canada and the USA – and they duly delivered.

Trilleen Pomare scores a try for Australia.
Trilleen Pomare was one of seven Wallaroos’ try-scorers as Fiji were overwhelmed at Allianz Stadium. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

The one-sided victory certainly didn’t look on the cards when winger Adita Milinia crossed for the opening try of the match to give the Fijiana a 5-0 lead after 12 minutes.

But the Wallaroos never looked back after Miller collected her first two tries, in the space of three minutes, to hit the front.

The hosts led 22-5 at the break after Karpani touched down from a driving maul and Miller completed her first-half treble.

There was no let-up after the break as the Wallaroos ultimately piled on 64 unanswered points after their early defensive breach.

Celebrations will likely by short-lived as Jo Yapp’s side prepare to face New Zealand next Sunday in Brisbane, less than two months after copping a 67-19 hiding from the Black Ferns in Auckland.

AAP