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Wallabies news | Rugby Australia eyes afternoon Bledisloe Cup clash against New Zealand

A Saturday afternoon Bledisloe Cup blockbuster between the Wallabies and All Blacks is being tabled by Rugby Australia in what would be the first for Sydney in nearly 30 years.

Phil Waugh, the governing body’s CEO, has canvassed broadcasters Nine and Stan Sport about the possibility of a daytime match.

Rugby Australia is eager to get families to the match at Accor Stadium (Stadium Australia) in Sydney’s west and also avoid a clash with the NRL finals.

Watch all the action from the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season, kicking off on February 23, with every match ad-free, live and and on demand on Stan Sport

It would be just the fourth instance of an afternoon match in Australia against New Zealand. 

The last time Australia played a daylight fixture in Sydney was in 1995 at Allianz Stadium (Sydney Football Stadium).

Australia has only played two since at Suncorp Stadium (Lang Park) in 1996 and Optus Stadium (Perth Stadium) in a COVID-19-affected fixture in 2021.

An afternoon match would open the door for broadcasters Nine to air the Bledisloe Cup contest before an NRL semi-final later that night – both on its main channel.

“The narrative I have been trying to push is the connection between the professional game and the community, and I think with the more family-friendly Test matches and professional games so that families and young kids can attend, and the more we open it up to more people, the better it is going to be,” Waugh said.

“It is certainly something we are exploring, and we are just working through with our partners to make sure it can work.

“But there will be no club rugby and there will be schools rugby, so it will be a really good opportunity to get our rugby community in a family-friendly environment, at a massive Test match.”

There will be one afternoon match at a minimum, Waugh confirmed – the July 20 fixture against Georgia at Allianz Stadium.

That will be something of a litmus test for Rugby Australia to see if the afternoon timeslot does attract the families it has targeted.

Although only 14th in the World Rugby rankings, Waugh said he hoped Georgia showed they are more than capable.

“They were very competitive against us and look at the game they played against Fiji, they almost beat them, going length of the field,” he said.

“They have been historically a scrummaging and forward-based team but their backs have really come on and we saw that against us. I am not concerned about the attractiveness of the game. I think they have a nicely well-balanced style of play.”

The Wallabies will have three Tests in July, with two against Wales and one against Georgia.

Wallabies 2024 home Tests

Wallabies v Wales, Saturday July 6 at Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Wallabies v Wales, Saturday July 13 at AAMI Park, Melbourne

Wallabies v Georgia, Saturday July 20 at Allianz Stadium, Sydney

The Rugby Championship/Bledisloe Cup

Wallabies v South Africa, Saturday August 10 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Wallabies v South Africa, Saturday August 17 at Optus Stadium, Perth

Wallabies v New Zealand, Saturday September 21 at Accor Stadium, Sydney

Wallaroos 2024 home fixtures

Wallaroos v Canada, Saturday May 11 at Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Wallaroos v USA, Friday May 17 at AAMI Park, Melbourne

Wallaroos v Fiji, Saturday July 6 at Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Wallaroos v New Zealand, Sunday July 14, Ballymore, Brisbane

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