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The Roar


'Established names meet blossoming pathways' - Ten reasons we’re pumped Super Rugby Women’s is back

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14th March, 2024

So many Australian rugby fans look back on 2023 as a complete disaster for the game down under, with million-dollar blowouts, an Eddie experiment gone wrong and a botched men’s Rugby World Cup campaign.

That would be a mistake.

Last year had its moments for Australian rugby, and some of the best were delivered by our female rugby stars. Google the Wallaroos’ performance against France last year, and you’ll see what we mean.

Today sees the seventh season of what is becoming one of Australia’s most exciting new rugby competitions, formerly named Super W. However, much like its rebranding to Super Rugby Women’s, this competition has become a true microcosm of the growth of the women’s game – 2023 saw the most competitive season yet, and with established names joining every franchise, the quality of rugby will only grow in 2024.

Here are ten reasons why you should be pumped for Super Rugby Women’s this year:

Melanie Kawa of the Rebels, Siokapesi Palu of the Brumbies, Piper Duck of the Waratahs, Asinate Serevi of Fiji Drua, Trilleen Pomary of the Force and Cecilia Smith of the Reds pose during the 2024 Super Rugby Women's Season Launch at Ballymore Stadium on March 06, 2024 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images for Rugby Australia)

Super Rugby Women’s is back in 2024!

Momentum is with the women’s game

It’s important to reflect on where rugby sits right now within the greater context of professional women’s sport. Momentum is growing, fast. The unparalleled success of teams like the Matildas shows how quickly things can grow, and while our rugby sides are not at that level yet, this infectious, joyous enthusiasm for more has been reflected in rugby.


The Wallaroos felt like they turned a corner in 2023 – over seven thousand turning out for their home Laurie O’Reilly clash with the Black Ferns, major scalps against the US, Wales and France, growing contracts and more steps towards full professionalism for national players and players below them – there is a lot more still to be done, but for fans they became shining lights for how good Australian rugby can be in 2023.

Super Rugby Women’s is a reflection of the growing confidence in the game, and with hype building year after year, it will be a competition all fans should be paying attention to.

Kaitlan Leaney of Australia celebrates during the WXV1 match between France and Australia Wallaroos at Forsyth Barr Stadium on October 28, 2023 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

Expect an even tighter competition

While the first few seasons of the competition felt like a two-way horse race between Queensland and New South Wales, 2023 saw that dynamic be resoundingly challenged.

Fijiana Drua are current back-to-back champions, coming from behind to win the title after squeezing into finals in 2023. The season also saw the emergence of a dangerous ACT Brumbies outfit and an even more unpredictable Western Force team. 

Even the Rebels, who went winless in 2023 showed signs of huge growth, nearly pulling off a surprise victory over the Brumbies in Canberra.


With big surprises aplenty throughout the regular season, the competitiveness of the competition culminated in an enthralling finals campaign in Concord, with only six points combined difference separating the top four sides in semis. 

Given the big names joining all teams this year, this level of competition will only expand. Speaking of which…

Watch every match of Super Rugby Pacific ad-free, live & on demand on the Home of Rugby, Stan Sport

International flavour joins the fray

No further do you see the growth of Super Rugby Women’s than the fact it is becoming an increasingly strong drawcard for international female rugby stars.

All franchises will welcome new overseas talent to compliment a growing contingent of Wallaroos, with all sides welcoming international capped stars from Fiji, Samoa, France, the USA, Canada, Japan and of course, New Zealand, with several Black Ferns also set to feature.

Combined with a growing roster of Wallaroos, the quality of rugby set to be served up will impress many new fans. Speaking of which…


The emergence of local talent

The Wallaroos roster expanded significantly in 2023, with more test matches and more opportunities. All Super sides saw players progress to the international level: exciting talents that will serve as the faces of the Wallaroo generation to come.

Expect to see a lot more from the likes of Piper Duck, Carys Dallinger, Ivania Wong, Arabella McKenzie, and of course, the Wallaroo player of the year, Eva Karpani, whose barnstorming tries littered highlights worldwide.

Get ready to know their names, plus a whole bunch more. 

Jo Yapp says she wants to lead the Wallaroos into the top four. Photo: Rugby Australia

Jo Yapp watches from the wings

One of the key reasons for the growth of the Wallaroos program is due to the incredible work of the former coach, Jay Tregonning. 


As the program has transitioned, Tregonning got the side to a World Cup Quarter-Final, and achieved more wins than any previous coach, with major scalps against the US, Wales and France, the latter being regarded as one of the biggest in Wallaroo history.

However, 2024 sees the head coach role transition to a full-time one, and the arrival of Jo Yapp as the new coach looms as one of the most exciting appointments in Australian rugby this year. 

A 70-capped Red Rose veteran, a World Cup grand finalist, and a winner of multiple Six Nations titles, as both a player and a coach, Yapp is a rising star in the coaching ranks, and the Wallaroos loom as an excellent opportunity for both her and the players in the competition.

A size up with Super Rugby Aupiki

Super Rugby Aupiki has already been up and running for the last few weeks, with quality clashes being dished out as more Black Ferns look to press their case for national selection.

It has been on the cards that eventually, the two competitions will merge into a combined format. While many may predict the dominance of the Black Ferns to continue into such a competition, the growth of the likes of the Fijiana Drua, Reds and Waratahs may offer up some stiff competition.


For now, Super Rugby Women’s serves up as a good examination of where the Wallaroos stack up against the World Cup champions – and while that inaugural victory is still to be found for the girls in gold, the gap has been closing between the two teams over the last few years. 

Double headers!

It is a no-brainer to integrate the women’s competition and help foster support from Super Rugby Pacific, so many Aussie fans can look forward to the fact that all Super Rugby franchises will provide multiple double headers in conjunction with the ongoing men’s season.

The Western Force and NSW Waratahs will be the first to take advantage of this, with fans being spoilt for clashes in the opening round in Perth and Sydney. 

The Rebels, Reds and Brumbies will all take advantage of this in the following rounds – as will the Fijiana Drua, who will take the field at Churchill Park for the first time against the Waratahs and Force, alongside the corresponding men’s fixtures. 


Wallaroo bolters loom for Pacific Four series

It is a good time to be a follower of women’s rugby in 2024. Following a record-breaking 2023 Pacific Four series in Canada which saw record crowd numbers, this year’s competition moves down to Australia, with clashes in May against Canada and the USA in Sydney and Melbourne, respectively. This will be followed by a trip across the Tasman to face the Black Ferns.

With four of their first five test matches of the year on home soil, the Wallaroos will have a golden opportunity to foster growth and support for the Women’s side, and they’ll be bolstered by a lot of exciting talent that could break into the wider squad.

Carys Dallinger will be a likely feature after being named rookie of the year, but also keep an eye out for sixteen year old rookie play maker Waiaria Ellis, who could become the youngest ever Waratah this weekend. 

Carys Dallinger of Australia offloads the ball during the WXV1 Match between England and Australia Wallaroos at Sky Stadium on October 20, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Mark Tantrum - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Carys Dallinger of Australia offloads the ball during the WXV1 Match between England and Australia Wallaroos at Sky Stadium on October 20, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Mark Tantrum – World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

For Force fans, keep an eye out for rookie loose forward Tamika Jones and winger Samantha Wood, who both look like great pick ups for the women from the west. Tiarah Mimms and Harmony Vatau are two brilliant homegrown talents for the Rebels, with Mimms likely to serve as a valuable workhorse in the engine room of the second room.

Meanwhile, the Reds will welcome talent from the World Youth Sevens in Shalom Sausao and Ava Wereta, who both lit up the competition last year. Also keep an eye out for Tabua Tuinakauvadra and Siokapesi Palu at the Brumbies, who both have recently picked up Wallaroos caps but are primed for further honours. 

Trilleen Pomare of the Force passes the ball during the Super W match between Western Force and ACT Brumbies Women at HBF Park, on April 22, 2023, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Trilleen Pomare of the Force passes the ball during the Super W match between Western Force and ACT Brumbies Women at HBF Park, on April 22, 2023, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Grassroots fixtures

In addition to doubleheaders, the competition will also see games at various popular suburban grounds, with games coming to Ballymore in Brisbane, Viking Park in Canberra, and UWA Sports Park, affectionately known as The Library, in Perth.

The semi-final games at Concord last year provided an appropriate festival atmosphere, with several thousand turning out to watch two thrilling clashes despite the warm conditions. With semi-final fixtures set to be announced, we can expect many more games to head out to the suburbs for fans. 

Can anyone stop Fijiana?

After dominating their inaugural season of Super W, the Fijiana Drua had to do it the hard way in 2023, sneaking into finals by just one point over a determined Western Force side.

However, the Drua in finals proved a different beast, defeating the Waratahs yet again in the semi-finals before going on to prevail in a thrilling grand final against the Queensland Reds in Townsville, winning their second title and handing the Sunshine State a record fifth grand final loss. 


The Drua celebrate after winning the Super W Final in 2023. Photo: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Six international capped stars will be included in the Fijiana side this year, and they will have their work cut out – with the likes of the Force recruiting heavily, the Waratahs looking very dangerous in pre-season trials and more, the Drua coming into the season with a target squarely on their back.

If there is one thing though that you should never do, it is to count out the Fijiana Drua!