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Exclusive: Injuries hit Wallaroos for 'powerhouse' US Test

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The Wallaroos have been hit by injury ahead of Sunday’s Pacific Four Series Test against the United States in Auckland (10.15am kickoff AEST).

Hooker Adiana Talakai and winger Ivania Wong have been ruled out on the back of Monday’s 23-10 loss to New Zealand in Tauranga.

Ashley Marsters and Jemima McCalman come in to Australia’s XV, with Brumbies winger McCalman making her first Test start.

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Talakai’s knee injury, meanwhile, opens the door for Reds hooker Tiarna Molloy to make her Wallaroos debut from the bench.

“Despite the result, we were quite impressed with the team’s performance last week against New Zealand,” Wallaroos coach Jay Tregonning said.

“We’ve picked up a few bumps and bruises along the way – thankfully we can cover it with the depth we have in this current squad.

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Wallaroos form boomerang to meet haka

“There are a few players that will now get the opportunity to make a mark straight from the kick off and I know they are extremely eager to make an impact and keep that starting jersey.”

USA were thrashed 36-5 in Monday’s tournament opener but Tregonning had plenty of respect for their ability.

“The United States have become a bit of a powerhouse in women’s rugby on the world stage and they are going to be a very tough opponent,” Tregonning said.

Sean Maloney and Andrew Mehrtens look back on the Super Rugby Pacific quarter finals and talk to departing Brumbies legend Scott Sio.

“The only time the Wallaroos have beaten the USA was back in the 2002 Rugby World Cup in Barcelona so a bit of history is on the line for this one.”

New Zealand will take on Canada in the second game on Sunday.

Black Ferns coach Wayne Smith named two uncapped players with Amy du Plessis starting at centre and 18-year-old midfielder Sylvia Brunt named on the bench.

“Canada looked physical against the USA, they were explosive and we know they’ve had players added to their team this week from the English Premiership,” Smith said.

“It will certainly be another tough match, but that is where you learn and that’s exactly what we want.”

Canada is yet to beat New Zealand in 16 attempts.

WALLAROOS (15-1): Lori Cramer, Mahalia Murphy, Georgina Friedrichs, Pauline Piliae-Rasabale, Jemima McCalman, Trilleen Pomare, Iliseva Batibasaga, Grace Hamilton, Shannon Parry (c), Emily Chancellor, Kaitlan Leaney, Michaela Leonard, Bridie O’Gorman, Ashley Marsters, Liz Patu

Reserves: Tiarna Molloy, Madison Schuck, Asoiva Karpani, Annabelle Codey, Piper Duck, Layne Morgan, Cecilia Smith, Arabella McKenzie

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Exclusive: NBA: Steve Clifford to be coach of Hornets for second time—report – TalkOfNews.com

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Oct 9, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Orlando Magic head coach Steve Clifford reacts during the second half against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Clifford agreed to a multi-year deal on Friday for a second tour of duty as coach of the Charlotte Hornets, according to multiple reports.

The 60-year-old Clifford went 196-214 with two playoff appearances in five seasons with the club from 2013-18. He was fired after going 36-46 in the 2017-18 campaign.

The move comes after Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson agreed to become coach of the Hornets and later reneged on the deal.

After being dismissed by Charlotte, Clifford spent three seasons with the Orlando Magic and went 96-131. He has an overall mark of 292-345 in eight NBA seasons.

Clifford’s first two Orlando squads made the postseason but his final team went 21-51, the third-worst record in the league. Clifford and the Magic elected to part ways following the campaign.

Clifford spent last season in a consulting role for the Brooklyn Nets.

Clifford is just 11 wins shy of matching the Charlotte record for coaching victories held by Allan Bristow (207 from 1991-96).

Charlotte also considered veteran coach Mike D’Antoni for the job.

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The Hornets fired James Borrego after going 43-39 last season. Charlotte lost to the Atlanta Hawks in a play-in game to miss the postseason for the sixth straight season.

Borrego went 138-163 in his four seasons with the Hornets. Last season was his only winning campaign.

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Exclusive: Dalot's ready to roll – TalkOfNews.com

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United Daily | Diogo Dalot on pre-season, David May’s favourite goal, and a classic tour clip that ends up in the bin…

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Exclusive: The 30-year Origin hoodoo haunting New South Wales – TalkOfNews.com

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It’s almost 30 years since a Blues team came back to win a State of Origin series after losing the opener in Sydney, but two stars of that memorable NSW team of 1994 have laid down a blueprint for Brad Fittler’s men to follow.

Brilliant fullback Tim Brasher and giant back-rower Paul Sironen admitted things looked bleak for the Blues when Mark Coyne scored the famous last-minute try to win the Queenslanders an epic Game One that series.

“I know how this team feels – because it’s the same way we felt back in ’94,” Sironen, now a member of the Blues’ management team, told Wide World of Sports from Perth.

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“When you have game one at home you just have to win it – and we blew it.

“We didn’t play as well as we could have and we didn’t execute the way we trained and we knew we were really going to be up against it for the rest of the series.

“But what we did was turn that to our advantage by using that frustration, disappointment and anger at ourselves to spur us on.

“We levelled the series in Melbourne and it then all came down to the decider in Brisbane.”

Brasher has vivid memories of the lead-up to the all-important third match at Lang Park.

“Everyone was telling us about Lang Park being the cauldron and how we would cop it up there and I must admit I wasn’t all that confident in the week leading up to the game,” Brasher said.

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“But then on game night, as our team bus went down Caxton Street and they came out of the pub and shook the bus and threw bottles at us, I think that actually did us a favour.

“It galvanised us, gave us a siege mentality and we were determined to go all the way.”

The Blues won the decider 27-12, with a young Brad Fittler playing in the centres.

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