Alisha Hewett from Gawler in South Australia has received the supreme accolade by being selected in the Australian Wallaroos for the 2014 World Cup in France.
Alisha is a captain in the Army who earned selection through her super performances for the Australian Services Rugby Union–Women’s team in the Australian Rugby Union’s 2013 National Women’s Championship in Sydney in September.
The selection came as a surprise for Alisha, 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.
Selection came as a surprise for Alisha, who will make her World Cup debut next August if she survives the cut after the training camp and trials matches against the Kiwis and Canada early in 2014.
Alisha, 27, said when she saw the letter with her name on it, she had to keep checking it over and over again.
“I didn’t believe it at first,” she said.
“It really took a couple of days for it to sink in that I was selected for the world cup side.”
Alisha is a powerhouse second-row forward who stands 178cm and weights 85kg.
Alisha 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.
“It was a great trip during which I learnt more specific skills and tactics about playing smart rugby that help me immensely now,” she said.
Alisha started her rugby career as an outside-centre but her match experience has seen her blossom into a hard running and tackling second-rower.
Alisha has come along way since leaving Gawler to join the Army as a medical officer.
“Rugby for women didn’t exist in Gawler, so I played netball and did athletics,” she said.
However, Alisha developed a passion for rugby when she was posted to England on exchange with the British Army in 2011.
“I played my first rugby while attached to the British military and absolutely loved it,” she said.
“So when I came back I joined Army rugby and have been playing for the combined Defence team since 2012.”
Wallaroos Head Coach Paul Verrell said with Alisha in the squad the team is 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