Hayley Sullivan from the small town of Tara in Queensland’s Darling Downs’ region has achieved the supreme accolade by being selected in the Australian Wallaroos for the 2014 World Cup in France.
Hayley, 22, is a private in the Army who earned selection through her super performances for Army in the Defence tri-service competition and her club the University of Queensland.
The selection came as a surprise for Hayley, who will make her debut with the national team next August if she survives the cut after trial matches against the Kiwis and Canada in early 2014.
Hayley is over the moon with her selection in the Wallaroos.
“I was absolutely gob-smacked to read the letter from the ARU telling me I had been selected for the Wallaroos.”
“I have only been playing for three years so I’m really stoked about being selected,” said the rugged second-row forward.
Hayley is a pocket-dynamo who stands 178cm tall and weighs a nuggetty 67-kg.
She bases her game on that of David Pocock and excels at jumping in line-outs and punishing her opponents with bone-jarring tackles.
Hayley said she started playing rugby because she enjoyed watching it on television.
“I absolutely love watching and playing rugby,” she said.
Hayley said she is well prepared for the pressures of representative rugby after playing a starring role in the ASRU-Womens team tour of the UK in 2012, in which they won all four matches including a 100-0 thrashing of the Royal Navy.
Hayley left Tara in 2009 to pursue a career in the Army, and is currently posted to the Joint Movements Coordination Centre in Brisbane.
Wallaroos Head Coach Paul Verrell said with Hayley in the squad the Wallaroos are a healthy mix of youth and experience with nine returning players from the third-placed 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup team.
“Last month’s National Women’s Championship provided a high standard and a great platform for selection.
“We identified a strong group of women, and I am looking forward to bringing them to our first camp early next year to prepare to challenge for the top spot in the International Series against New Zealand and Canada in May and June.
“We finished third in the last Rugby World Cup, so we’re looking to improve that position next year and the International Series will be a great opportunity for us to assess form and see what areas of our game we need to focus on to come home with the World Cup next August.”
Coach Verrell said newcomers to the squad have a varied background from Club Rugby to Australian Services Rugby, and will be training alongside teammates at supervised training sessions conducted by senior state-based coaches in the lead up to the first camp in February