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Sydney Test a big step for Wallaroos

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    10 Aug 2018     Getty Images

New Zealand have been in camp this week preparing for the opening Test of the season and will play a game of three halves at Tauranga Domain against Auckland and Bay of Plenty at 12noon on Saturday.

It's early days in the professionalisation of the women's game but next week in Sydney will mark a new era.

The Australians will each receive payments of $1000 per Test.

But for the players it wasn't so much about the money they will receive but the support it gives them.

Wallaroos prop Emily Robinson told rugby.com.au that while the players didn't do it for the money it was nice not to have to worry about paying the rent while preparing for a game.

"It's a big deal and definitely a step in the right direction that we've been waiting for for a long time," she said.

Expectations would increase as a result of the changed structure but Robinson said, "I think everyone will see next Saturday that it's not just an exhibition, it's women's rugby, it's awesome, it's just as good as the men's.

"We've put in just as much so I can't see any reason why it wouldn't keep moving forward," she said.

Robinson has her own reasons for wanting the Australian women to do well. Her debut was in the 2016 67-3 loss to the Black Ferns at Eden Park.

"It was amazing but it was also pretty horrific at the same time.

"I think the team has changed a fair bit with a few players retiring and having kids and stuff. We definitely still carry the same legacy that those older girls have, pride in the jersey and never giving up," she said.

While there has been a longer media acceptance in New Zealand of the women's game than in Australia, that was changing, especially with the introduction of a women's competition and the introduction of state-based camps for the internationals and the constant monitoring of skills and training.

"I think there's been a lot more publicity around us and I think it doesn't so much put pressure on you but I think it probably makes you realise what a big deal it is and makes people want to put in a hell of a lot to be able to wear the jersey and represent everyone.

"My sister's never seen me play for Australia, and my two nephews, so this is the first time she'll get to see me so hopefully I get on the field and I can do them proud.

"To be able to give back to all of those people that support us so much in our lives is really awesome," she said.