Sharks Women's Series backrower Talesha Quinn has scored at try on debut as the Australian Jillaroos opened their Women's World Cup title defence with a 58-4 victory over the Cook Islands at Southern Cross Group Stadium earlier today.
In the second game of three Women's World Cup fixtures scheduled for the home of the Sharks, the Jillaroos piled on seven tries to lead 36-0 at the break.
The Jillaroos to struck early with halfback Caitlin Moran forcing her way over the line in the seventh minute, before hooker Brittany Breayley extended the lead. Five-eighth Ali Brigginshaw sliced through the Cook Islands defence to race 45 metres for the next Australian score as the home nation displayed its early dominance.
Debutant Quinn, a Queenslander who made Cronulla-Caringbah and the Sharks her rugby league home in 2017, outpaced four chasers to score her first try in the green and gold as the Jillaroos showed their opponents little mercy.
Australia showed no signs of slowing down in the second half, reaching the half-century mark with 23 minutes remaining however a loss of concentration from the Aussies and some late resolve from Cook Islands saw the visitors rewarded when centre Chantelle Inangaro Schofield planted the ball down late in the game for her teams only points, a try bringing what was perhaps the loudest cheer of the game.
Australia responded with two minutes left to round out the win.
New Zealand were victorious in the first match of the Women's World Cup, beating Canada 54-4.
The next match for the Australians is against England on Sunday.
Australian Jillaroos 58 (Caitlin Moran 2, Brittany Breayley, Karina Brown, Ali Brigginshaw, Vanessa Foliaki, Talesha Quinn, Isabelle Kelly, Nakia Davis-Welsh, Meg Ward, Lavina O'Mealey tries; Maddie Studdon 4, Caitlin Moran 3 goals) defeated Cook Islands 4 (Chantelle Inangaro Schofield try) at Southern Cross Group Stadium. Half-time: Jillaroos 36-0.