ORANGE Emu Chick Aleasha Clinghan is no stranger to the National Women’s Rugby Championship, having represented the Australian Services Rugby Union against the nation’s best a number of times.
But 2013 is shaping up a little differently.
And Clinghan, now with NSW Country, knows it.
“It’s going to be interesting. We play ASRU in our first game. I know a few of the girls have already teed me up to smash me,” Clinghan laughed.
Clinghan is one of four Emu Chicks named to play for NSW Country in this week’s national championship, beginning tomorrow at St Ignatius College Riverview.
Vanessa Foliaki, Rebecca Smyth and Ashley Adams are the others and Foliaki in particular has warned Clinghan just how physical it can be fronting up on the other side to the ASRU girls, formally the Australian Defence Force.
“It’s going to be aggressive straight up, especially in the forwards,” Foliaki warned.
“A lot of people don’t expect it, but it’s full on. You can’t be scared.”
Foliaki will line-up at five-eighth for tomorrow’s Pool A opener against ASRU from 9.15am.
Queensland and Western Australia round out the other Pool A sides while the ACT, Sydney, South Australia and Victoria will battle it out in Pool B.
Foliaki is expecting a tough challenge.
“Especially from Queensland,” she added.
“It’ll be good to play different sides and hopefully beat them.
“We have a good side. There’s experienced and not experienced players, young and old, we’ve got some talent right throughout our side.”
Coached by premiership-winning Orange City mentor Steve Hamson, NSW Country’s preparation is made difficult by the proximity of those in the team.
Newcastle dominates the side, while Tamworth also has a representative in NSW Country colours in 2013.
Having just two training sessions under their belt, Foliaki said the aim was to keep it simple.
“Simple things will win us the games,” she said.
“There’s not much you can do playing with new players you haven’t played with before, so just keep it simple. The basics.
“It’s a huge step up. You’ve got to be a lot stronger, there’s more running. You’ve got to expect to be really physical, because coming up against teams like Queensland, straight away they’re on top of you.”
NSW Country plays tomorrow from 9.15am.
They then play Queensland from 3.15pm tomorrow afternoon before locking horns with Western Australia on Friday at 2.45pm.
The finals are on Saturday.