It all began on a hot, steamy day in Suva.
The Melbourne Rebels Super W were facing their toughest test of the season - locking horns with last year’s Super W champions on their home desk, in front of a hostile crowd, in sweltering conditions.
After beginning slowly, Jason Rogers’ side came out firing in the second half, digging deep to produce an inspired performance led by Victorian teenager, Laiema Bosenavulagi, who officially announced herself on the Super W stage by scoring a glorious maiden try in the 61st minute.
It would prove to be the start of something special for Bosenavulagi, who continued her rapid ascension 39 days later, when she was named as one of the youngest members of the Jay Tregonning’s 32-player Wallaroos squad for next month’s upcoming Tests against Fiji and the Black Ferns.
“I didn’t think I would make it this far so quickly, so I’m really grateful for this opportunity and excited to get started.”
“Obviously I wanted to make my mark on this year’s Super W competition, and I was really happy to make my debut and help the team by making an impact on the field.
“Being selected in the Wallaroos squad has now set new heights for me, so I’m ready to embrace it all and push myself to get better.”
Bosenavulagi admitted her selection still felt surreal to both her and her parents, who were overcome with tears of joy upon hearing the news.
“It’s still crazy looking back to the moment Jay called me Sunday night and congratulated me on making the squad and putting together a good season with the Rebels.”
“I was in shock and just sat in my room and didn’t know what to do - I was on such a high.
“I told my parents first and they were very excited; my Dad actually started crying and then my Mum. It was a really special moment for my family.”
Reflecting on her eye-catching Super W campaign which included five appearances, two starts and two tries, Bosenavulagi said it was an honour to represent her community that has been so instrumental in her development as a player.
“Making my debut this year was amazing and it feels good to get through my first season playing Super W.”
“I was really grateful to have the opportunity to play at home in front of my friends and family and represent Melbourne and Victorian women’s rugby in general.
“Starting in Under-10’s at Harlequins, coming through the ranks and getting to play with boys has helped me develop a different game to other players.
“I’m still connected with my Club coaches as well, so they still provide me with great support.”
With camp kicking off this week, Bosenavulagi said she was still pinching herself at getting the opportunity to rub shoulders with Australia’s best female rugby players, many of whom she grew up idolising, including her Rebels Captain, Ashley Marsters.
“I honestly can’t wait for camp to get started.”
“There’s so many players I’ve grown up watching, but the number one Wallaroo I’ve grown looking up to is Ash Marsters. She’s homegrown, and I’ve watched her playing club rugby in Victoria and for Australia in the World Cup, so to play alongside her this year and be part of this Wallaroos squad with her feels great.
“Hopefully my selection will help inspire the next generation of girls under me, to keep working and strive hard because making it to that next level playing in Victoria is possible.”