19 September, 2023

World Cup glory for oztagger

RACHAEL Harper returned home with a World Cup winner’s medal after representing Australia in last month’s Tag World Cup in the Irish city of Limerick.

Wamuran resident Rachael Harper savours Australia’s World Cup win in the Open Mixed division at the Tag World Cup in Ireland.
Wamuran resident Rachael Harper savours Australia’s World Cup win in the Open Mixed division at the Tag World Cup in Ireland.

The Wamuran resident and Woodford State School P-10 teacher aide played in the Open Mixed division, and was one of 10 women in the Australian squad of 20 while she was also one of 10 Queenslanders in the squad.

Australia won all of its matches in the Open Mixed division while Rachael played in each of those fixtures, with Australia’s opponents being Ireland, Great Britain, France, South Africa, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Rachael played in the middle and on the wing, and she was among the most prolific tryscorers for the title-winning team as she crossed the stripe to touch down seven times.

“The games were very fast, some games were close and other games were quite easy,” she said.

Rachael said the key to Australia’s success in the Open Mixed division was defence, as the players worked well as a team and conceded very few tries.

The Wamuran resident said it felt amazing and incredible to be a World Cup winner, and that “it’s hard to put into words”.

Rachael has played in victorious women’s oztag teams for Australia in the past seven years as she has represented her country at U16, U18 and U21 level. Events have included two Trans-Tasman tournaments in New Zealand, and Sydney-based competitions such as invitational World Series, and International Tag Federation.

Rachael plays oztag at club level in North Lakes and Wavell Heights, and has represented North Lakes at State Cups as well as representing the Metro North Marlins at national titles.

When she played at last year’s national titles, Rachael earned selection for this year’s World Cup in Ireland.

Rachael said she had had a goal to represent Australia, but that it was a surprise to be first picked for her country at U16 level when she was only 14.

“My goal now has just been to be consistent and keep bettering my form of playing,” she said.

“My future ambitions would just to be continuing to represent Australia, as I always feel so grateful with the journey to put on the green and gold jersey, and play alongside so many other talented people.

“I’m always for bettering skills, no matter what.”


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