Duck named in Wallaroos PONI squad

Piper Duck. Photo: Rugby Australia.

Tumut rugby star Piper Duck has continued her journey to one day representing the Australian Wallaroos after being named in the Player Of National Interest (PONI) squad.

Following Duck and the NSW Waratahs winning the Super W title on Saturday and bringing an end to the domestic rugby season, Rugby Australia confirmed the 40-player squad.

General Manager of Women’s Rugby Jilly Collins said it was a tough process only picking 40 players from a competitive Super W competition. 

“Many congratulations to all those selected,” Collins said. 

“The Wallaroos selection panel had many tough decisions to make, with so many players performing well in Super W 2021.”

The Wallaroos were meant to be playing Samoa in a two-test series kicking off next weekend, but with the Covid-19 pandemic putting a spanner in the current international draw, Rugby Australia is now planning new matches and dates. 

“Rugby Australia looks forward to announcing new Test match dates for the Wallaroos shortly,” Collins said.

“We are working hard with all our partners to confirm the revised schedule, following the postponement of the PacificAus Sports Wallaroos Samoa Test series, due to current Covid-19 restrictions.”

Duck and the rest of the Wallaroos PONI squad will now train with squad mates in their selected groups over the next two months back in their states.

In more news for the Wallaroos, Rugby Australia also confirmed they will part ways with head coach Dwayne Nestor and assistant Matt Tink.

The pair resigned after the use of “unacceptable language”, which only emerged hours after the Super W game. 

In a statement regarding the incident, Rugby Australia highlighted the seriousness of the incident. 

“It is alleged that the coaches used unacceptable language when describing match officials, refereeing decisions and general play in an audio recording of the game, which was then uploaded to the team’s analysis portal,” an Rugby Australia statement read.

“Rugby Australia acknowledges that some individuals have taken offence to the language used and Rugby Australia would like to apologise to those individuals for that.

“Rugby Australia takes all matters relating to the off-field behaviour of our staff and contractors very seriously and all employees and contractors are required to act in accordance with the terms of their contracts, including adherence to the code of conduct and the core values of the game.”

For the time being, Duck and other Wallaroos PONI players will continue training, with the expectation a coach and assistant will be named in the coming weeks.