Wallabies confirm dates with Wales and Scotland
November 4, 2011
ARU boss John O'Neill has hailed the return to 'traditional' tours © Getty Images
Australia have confirmed the dates and venues for their Test clashes with Wales and Scotland next year.
The Wallabies will play four matches in the June tour window with their first match scheduled for Tuesday, June 5, at Newcastle's Ausgrid Stadium against Scotland with the one-off clash to be the first Test ever played by the Wallabies in the Hunter region. The game will also be the first meeting between the two teams since the Scots defeated Australia 9-8 at Murrayfield in Edinburgh in 2009, a win that saw them break a 27-year, 16-game losing streak to the Wallabies.
Australia will then play a three-Test series against Wales in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. It will be the first time since 2001 - when the British & Irish Lions toured Australia - that the Wallabies will play a European heavyweight in a three-Test series across the June window. The two sides are also set to meet in Cardiff on December 3.
The first clash is scheduled for the Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, June 9 with the Etihad Stadium playing host to the second meeting a week later. The final game will be played at the Sydney Football Stadium.
ARU Managing Director and CEO, John O'Neill A.O, said the return to the traditional June Tests was great news for fans. "A return to a three-Test series as we will play against Wales is an opportunity to build anticipation, excitement and momentum during the course of the tour," said O'Neill. "It is a long time since we have had that opportunity, to experience a heavyweight northern hemisphere opponent in our backyard for three Tests
"I'm delighted too that Wales will be that opponent in 2012. I think all Australians understand what the Welsh are capable of in terms of exciting and attacking Rugby. They were unfortunate to lose to France in the Rugby World Cup semi-final, after playing with 14 men for most of the game, and they were certainly difficult opponents for the Wallabies in the Bronze Final. The challenge for our team next year will be huge."
O'Neill said the addition of Scotland to the schedule was also enormously significant. "Newcastle and the Hunter region has a wonderful history as a nursery for Wallabies stars, the most recent of them being Luke Burgess. So to take a Test to the area is a fitting reward for the contribution Newcastle and the Hunter have made over a long period of time. Our Test history stretches back to 1899 and there have been any number of Newcastle stars to grace Australian teams during that period.
"I also want to thank the Scots and the Welsh for agreeing to tour Australian 2012. Scotland came close to beating both Argentina and England at the Rugby World Cup and did defeat the Wallabies in the last meeting between our two countries in 2009, so we know they will provide formidable opposition."
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson welcomed today's announcement ahead of a tour that will also feature games against Fiji and Samoa. "We're really pleased to have this fixture as part of our tour in June which will also encompass Test matches against Fiji and Samoa," Robinson said. "The last time we played against Australia was a very good game and a special win for Scotland. We're very much looking forward to going to Newcastle and playing our part in the inaugural Test match at the stadium there."
Welsh Rugby Union Group chief executive, Roger Lewis said they are very much looking forward to Wales' latest trip Down Under. "Wales and Australia were two of the best teams in the 2011 Rugby World Cup and it will be a mouth-watering opportunity for fans to see the two sides lock horns again," said Lewis.
"The Welsh fans proved that they are fantastic travelling support when they turned up in New Zealand creating a sea of red at all Wales' fixtures and we are hope that the loyal expats will do Wales proud again when they have the opportunity to support the Welsh Team next summer.
"It is an ideal opportunity for Wales to be tested against one of the best teams around and challenge on a world stage. It will also be a fantastic experience for any Welsh players who are seeking to travel back to Australia with the British and Irish Lions the following year."
Fixtures: (Kick off times to be confirmed)
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Saturday, June 23, 2012
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Women's World Cup, the opening round of the Top 14 and the Rugby Championship