NSW COUNTRY women’s rugby union coach Steve Hamson says his girls face the unexpected when the Australian Women’s Championship kicks off in Sydney today.
The Country girls will start their campaign against the Australia Services Rugby Union (formerly Australian Defence Force) this morning, before taking on Queensland this afternoon.
Tomorrow Country plays Western Australia.
Hamson, who recently co-coached Orange City to a second consecutive undefeated Blowes Clothing Cup premiership, said he really only knew about Queensland.
“I expect Queensland to be tough. They’ll by physical and they’ll have a strong Kiwi contingent,” Hamson explained.
“The others are an unknown. ASRU depends on availability. Western Australia could depend on the amount of cost for the girls to come over.”
The ASRU girls have been in camp for at least a week leading up to the three-day tournament.
“I understand ASRU got pumped by Sydney, but so did we,” Hamson said.
“I wouldn’t expect their skill level to be great, but they have great physicality. They could be anything. They should be well-organised.”
In recent years NSW Country has been in a pool with Sydney and ACT, so Hamson said it was nice to take on some different teams.
“We’ll go game by game,” he explained.
“I like to think we’re a good chance of beating WA and ASRU. I expect Queensland will be the toughest game in our pool.”
The coach said one thing working in his side’s favour is the long break between games today, allowing his girls plenty of time to recover.
Emu Chicks Vanessa Foliaki and Aleasha Clinghan are part of the NSW Country side and Hamson expects strong performances from them.
“Vanessa is someone who will stand out,” Hamson said.
“She plays hard and understand the game quite well. Aleasha is a hard worker and doesn’t mind the physical stuff.”
Hamson’s main focus during the tournament is coaching NSW Country, but he’ll also start his duties as the manager of the Australia women’s team.
NSW Country plays ASRU at 9.15am today, followed by Queensland at 3.15pm.
Tomorrow Country goes up against Western Australia at 2.45pm.
NSW Country must finish on top of its pool to line-up in Saturday’s grand final.