Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos has praised Fijian Wallaroo legend Iliseva Batibasaga for her contribution to the sport.
Batibasaga confirmed her International retirement after two decades of a career in the gold jersey yesterday.
She made her Wallaroos debut at the 2006 World Cup in Canada against South Africa as Wallaroo #87, becoming an essential figure within Women’s Rugby as she represented Australia on 27 occasions and at three World Cups.
Whilst Batibasaga made her career largely in the NSW Waratahs jersey, her Rugby journey began at the Norths Eagles in Brisbane, eventually representing Queensland at the National Championships before getting the Wallaroo call-up.
“Iliseva has created an inimitable legacy for future generations of players – both on and off the field,” Marinos told rugby.com.au.
“Her kindness, gentle spirit and true passion for the game have culminated in an impressive career – she has played an important role in leaving the Wallaroos jersey better off than when she started. Her departure will be felt keenly by current Wallaroos players, who have looked to Ili as a leader, mentor and friend for many years.”
“We here at Rugby Australia congratulate Ili. We wish her all the best in her future endeavours, and hope for her continued involvement within rugby for years to come.”
“People see ‘professional Rugby players’ as people who are paid a full-time wage to play the game we all love,” added Wallaroos coach Jay Tregonning.
“To me, a ‘professional’ is someone who leaves no stone unturned in their search to improve their on-field and off-field skills, who goes about their work with integrity, humility, and calmness, making the people around them better in the process.
“Ili epitomises professionalism – she was an outstanding leader for the team throughout 2022 and has redefined what it means to be a Wallaroo. Although she will be greatly missed, Ili has set the standard for continual improvement and future success – our up-and-coming players owe her a great debt.”