Wallaroos vs Japan in Newcastle: Aussies win

THERE will come a time when Millie Boyle has to choose between rugby union and rugby league. In the meantime, Wallaroos coach Dwayne Nestor is going to provide the 21-year-old with the "best possible environment that she can enjoy here".

"Of course, at some stage she is going to have make a decision," Nestor added.

On Saturday, Boyle played a commanding role for the Wallaroos in a resounding 34-5 win over Japan in front of 3,912 fans at Newcastle's No.2 Sportsground.

Three weeks ago, she helped NSW to a win over Queensland in the women's rugby league State of Origin.

The 21-year-old is the daughter of former Canberra Raider David Boyle and joined the Burleigh Bears earlier this year due to a lack of competitive rugby on the Gold Coast where she is studying.

But with a World Cup two years away, Nestor will be hoping Boyle's flirtation with league is only short

The powerhouse breakaway, who has nine caps for the Wallaroos and was a part of the Queensland side which succumbed 8-5 to NSW in the Super W final in May, was at her dynamic best against the Japanese.

She combined with No.8 Grace Hamilton to constantly open up the defence and put the Wallaroos on the front foot.

"How good were Grace and Millie?" Nestor said.

"We had Emily Chancellor and when Shannon Mato came on, they make an impact. Our go forward through those girls was outstanding.

"The one thing we know with Grace is when she puts this jersey on, she will give 100 per cent for 80 minutes. In the first 20 minutes, we needed to control the emotions and get go-forward and she was definitely the girl who gave it to us."

Hamilton, captaining the Wallaroos for the first time, was named player of the match after carrying the ball for 171m.

"It was an emotional day but I am so excited and proud of every girl that stood on that field," she said.

The international was the Wallaroos' first since going down 45-17 to New Zealand last August.

They meet Japan again next Friday at North Sydney Oval, before reigniting their rivalry with the Black Ferns in the Bledisloe Cup series at Optus Stadium in Perth (August 10) and Auckland's Eden Park (August 17).

Debutants Averyl Mitchell and Ariana Hira-Herangi both scored tries to open a 12-0 lead for the Wallaroos in a first half dominated by big hits.

Nestor said in the lead-up that his side would have to earn the right to go wide.

That was certainly the approach early. And they were rewarded with a try after 10 minutes.

Doyle broke the line two passes wide and held up a beautiful ball for hooker Mitchell who had enough pace to crash over for a 5-0 lead.

The defence was brutal in the opening 15 minutes.

The visitors had prop Makoto Ebuchi taken off for a head injury assessment after a heavy knock.

Five minutes later, Wallaroos fullback Mahalia Murphy produced a crunching front-on tackle on Ninano Nagura 15 metres from the Australian try-line. Anything less and it was a certain five-pointer.

The Wallaroos' pack started to get on top late in the half.

Boyle, Hamilton and lock Michael Leonard made inroads up the middle. It was a similar story at the set piece where the Australian's size advantage put the Japanese under constant pressure.

The Wallaroos second try, just before half-time, came from a scrum penalty. Halfback Cobie-Jane Morgan took a quick tap and shifted the ball to Ariana Hira-Herangi to power over from 10m. Sammy Treherne added the extras for 12-0 at the break.

"That first half was hard and we had to absorb a lot of pressure," Hamilton said. "We laid the platform, particularly with our set piece."

You sensed that Australia were about to hit top gear. And they started the second half with a bang.

Treherne made a bust down the right wing. Two phases later Murphy ran a great angle to dive over under the posts.

Winger Mhicca Carter crossed untouched five minutes later. When reserve prop Evra Karpani swivelled over in the 58th minute, the flood gates threatened to open.

But Japan continued to battle hard and were rewarded in the 72nd minute when hooker Maiko Fujimoto burrowed over from the base of a ruck.

Such was the performance, Nestor was able to empty his bench and hand debuts to nine players in total.

However, he said there was plenty of work ahead.

"By the end of the fourth test we will be able to control the ball a lot more and value the ball a lot more," Netsor said.

"Then we will be able to get continuity and build pressure. Especially against the Black Ferns you need to do that. The combinations will come and the way we want to play will develop. There are quite a few areas where our progression will be quite steep."

  • Newcastle Herald