If COVID-19 has created hardship across the face of the globe, it has also helped distil some essential truths more clearly. One of those truths is that the brother nations of New Zealand and Australia work best when they work together.
An impending Wallaroos return has given Mahalia Murphy the chills as she simultaneously attempts to keep her rugby sevens dream alive.
The all-rounder is part of a new-look Australian 15-a-side squad, featuring 13 uncapped players, announced on Wednesday to play two Tests against world champions New Zealand next month.
Murphy, 24, last played for the Wallaroos at the 2017 World Cup where Australia finished sixth.
The former sprinter first represented Australia in rugby league, before switching to rugby and then rugby sevens.
She admits her Wallaroos return is just the tonic after falling down the pecking order in the World Series champion sevens side this season.
“Looking at the squad and thinking about wearing the green and gold again … I get the chills just thinking about it,” she told AAP.
“But I’m still a development player with the sevens and won’t stop working hard to get back there again.”
Murphy works as a community engagement officer for Rugby Australia while often training for both genres of rugby on the same day.
“It’s hard work, training in early mornings and late afternoons,” she said.
“But it’s been a really cool journey and hopefully a bit of a lesson that it’s never handed to you, you’ve got to work for it.”
The Wallaroos will play alongside the Wallabies for the first time on Australian soil at ANZ Stadium on August 18 before a return clash in Auckland the following week.
Wallaroos squad for New Zealand Test matches
Mhicca Carter, Emily Chancellor, Rebecca Clough, Georgia Cormick, Melissa Fatu, Kendra Fell, Toa Filimoehala, Fenella Hake, Grace Hamilton, Alisha Hewett, Evelyn Horomia, Fi Jones, Atasi Lafai, Kiri Lingman, Crystal Maguire, Michelle Milward, Cobie-Jane Morgan, Mahalia Murphy, Hana Ngaha, Georgia O’Neill, Shanice Parker, Liz Patu, Trilleen Pomare, Sarah Riordan, Emily Robinson, Alice Tonumaivao*, Samantha Treherne, Darryl Wickliffe.