NSW Waratahs women’s captain Ashleigh Hewson, from Vincentia, says it is a dream come true to play a proper XVs match at a major stadium before Super Rugby and that she will be relishing the moment as her side aims to keep its unbeaten run intact.
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Super W continues this weekend with NSW taking on the Western Force at Allianz Stadium at 1:30pm on Sunday.
The game is a curtain raiser for the Waratahs and Rebels fixture at 4pm but there is added significance.
The game marks the first time NSW women have played on home soil in Super W and when you consider how far women’s rugby has come in the last few years, Hewson’s excitement is very much understandable.
“I absolutely never thought I’d be part of it,” Hewson said.
“I’m so privileged to be part of it. It is actually emotional for me.
“To play before the boys on a Sunday afternoon when rugby fans come out of the woodwork is going to be a great spectacle.”
NSW women fought their way to a clinical 18-nil win in round one against Queensland last weekend.
Having the opportunity to play at Suncorp Stadium was something Hewson described as “amazing”.
“Just the atmosphere, being able to play on that field for all of us girls, it was pretty special,” Hewson said.
“It was a physical match which we knew it was going to be against Queensland and we’ve got that old rivalry with them so I think that showed on the field.”
There have been positive responses to the five-team tournament and Hewson is not surprised one bit.
“I was really optimistic about this competition and I knew the potential that it does have," she said.
"It’s really great to see everyone get behind us and supporting us.”
The highlight of round one was an incredible six-try haul from 17-year-old Force player Courtney Hodder on debut.
She crossed four times in the opening 25 minutes and her efforts will be hard to top for the most remarkable performance of the season.
The Force annihilated the Rebels 85-13 in that match and Hewson said her side would be keeping a close eye on Hodder come Sunday.
“We’ll be trying to cut off as much space as possible for her,” Hewson said.
“She’s definitely a talent and one to watch out for in the future.
“It just shows the depth women’s rugby has got.
“We’ve got a couple of younger girls in our squad and you can see how much they love the game.
“The game is in really good hands.”
The Waratahs are celebrating Ladies Day on Sunday and Hewson is viewing it as another chance to promote women’s rugby to young girls.
“To be able to see us at the pinnacle of our sport on a big stage is only going to encourage them more,” Hewson said.
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