Hewson back as Wallaroos play for pride
WALLAROOS top pointscorer and veteran back Ash Hewson has been named to play against Ireland in a Women's Rugby World Cup play-off for fifth spot in Belfast after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Hewson hasn't played at the World Cup since Australia's opening match against the hosts and comes back in to the starting line-up at flyhalf.
Her addition makes this Wallaroos line-up the most experienced ever with 196 caps between them.
Australia lost to Ireland by just two points when they met at the start of the tournament, a couple of missed conversions proving the difference in the end.
Hewson is the Wallaroos' only recognised goalkicker and her return will bring experience and stability to the side given captain and Olympic sevens player Shannon Parry has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a wrist injury.
Coach Paul Verrell made just three changes to the side, keeping with a policy of maintaining as much consistency as possible.
"As we approach this match against Ireland once again we've tried to make minimal changes to create some cohesion among the group. The girls played some good rugby against Japan and we're hoping they can build upon that," Verrell said.
"We've been able to welcome back Ashleigh Hewson into the squad this week which is a positive, as she brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience."
The other changes include Rebecca Clough, who has been named at lock and her first time starting for the team, while Millie Boyle moved to blindside flanker shifting Mollie Gray to the bench. Sarah Riordan moves to the centres to make way for Hewson.
Verrell said the team is determined to turn around their earlier 19-17 loss to Ireland in the preliminary rounds.
"Rebecca Clough's return to the starting side is also reward for the effort she has been putting in on and off the field," Verrell said.
"While we're out of semi-finals contention, the team is focused on finishing the World Cup as highly ranked as we can, and to have a second chance against Ireland after a two-point loss, this match provides us with a chance for some redemption."
The Wallaroos play Ireland at 11pm (AEST) Tuesday night live on Fox Sports.
Wallaroos side to face Ireland: Liz Patu, Cheyenne Campbell, 3. Hilisha Samoa, 4. Alisha Hewett, 5. Rebecca Clough, 6. Millie Boyle, 7. Chloe Butler, 8. Grace Hamilton, 9. Katrina Barker, 10. Ashleigh Hewson, 11. Mahalia Murphy, 12. Sharni Williams, 13. Sarah Riordan, 14. Nareta Marsters, 15. Samantha Treherne. Reserves: 16. Emily Robinson, 17. Violeta Tupuola, 18. Hana Ngaha, 19. Mollie Gray, 20. Kate Brown, 21. Fenella Hake, 22. Kayla Sauvao, 23. Trilleen Pomare.