Brumbies hooker Tania Naden is eager to continue her dream season as she pushes for a maiden Wallaroos cap.
Naden is one of two uncapped players in the World Cup squad alongside Waratahs flyer Maya Stewart.
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It's been a wild ride for the 30-year-old, spending 2021 completing rehab from an ACL injury and without a starting cap at Super W level.
“This is my return year to Rugby,” she explained to Rugby.com.au before the start of the World Cup.
“I tore my ACL in 2020, spent 2021 doing rehab so this was just a return year.
“This year I got my first start at Brumbies as well which I have been pushing for the last 2-3 seasons so I’ve been working hard on my set-piece.
“To go through all those hurdles to the World Cup at any of these games, I’ll be so proud of myself for getting through it."
A breakout year for the Brumbies saw Naden selected for the Australian Barbarians against Japan, turning a solid outing into a call-up for the O'Reilly Cup.
She credits working under Brumbies and Wallaroos legend Louise 'Cookie' Burrows in refining her set-piece game and eventually getting the selectors' attention.
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As Naden competes with the likes of Adiana Talakai and Ashley Marsters, she was lost for words at the rapid rise in the hopes of a maiden call-up.
“It means a lot,” Naden admits. “This the highest level of Rugby I’ve ever played and the first year getting picked in the Wallaroos.
“I’d got looked at for the Barbarians game and got my way into the squad so to be here at a World Cup is pretty amazing.
“It was really emotional to get that call. I knew that I didn’t get picked for the Pac Four series so I just kept asking the coaches for feedback on what I needed to work and they said my throwing, so I kept working on that.
“To then get picked for the O’Reilly squad and the World Cup, I was really proud of myself for doing the work to get there.
“I love playing at this level, it just makes me play better. The girls have been very welcoming and having some Brumbies girls with me makes me feel like it’s home when we are away from our friends and family so it’s nice to have that bit of home."
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