The Bledisloe Cup has arrived on Australian soil ahead of next week’s opening Bledisloe Cup Test and first match of The Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship.
The Cup arrived in Sydney from Wellington on a Qantas B737-800 aircraft last night and will make its way to a number of events across Sydney as part of this year’s second annual Bledisloe Cup Festival.
The Cup will be on display tomorrow (Friday) at the Museum of Sydney for the official Bledisloe Cup Festival launch from 11.30am.
This year’s Festival launch is open to the public, with the opportunity to see current and past Qantas Wallabies and get up close and have a picture taken with the Bledisloe Cup on the Museum of Sydney’s forecourt.
Australian Rugby Union CEO, Bill Pulver said the Bledisloe Cup Festival in Sydney provides a rare opportunity for Rugby fans to get up close to a trophy that Australian and New Zealand Rugby teams have fought over for the last 80 years.
“Following this year’s historic British & Irish Lions Tour, we now get to celebrate another timeless rivalry with the opening game of The Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship between the Qantas Wallabies and All Blacks.
“The Bledisloe Cup has been in the possession of the Kiwis since 2002 and everyone associated with Australian Rugby feels that this impressive piece of silverware is overdue for a long stay in Australia,” Mr Pulver said.
The first Bledisloe Cup Festival was held last year, born out of a 10-year agreement with the NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, to host one Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney every year from 2012 through to 2021.
George Souris, Minister for Tourism, Major Events and the Arts, said the NSW Government, through Destination NSW, is working to secure events such as the Bledisloe Cup and to nurture events such as the Bledisloe Cup Festival to create a sustainable world class Events Calendar for NSW.
“With two out of the three Bledisloe Test matches in New Zealand this year, Sydney is the only city in Australia that will host the battle between the Qantas Wallabies and the All Blacks in 2013.
“I encourage Sydneysiders and visitors alike to join in the festivities of the Bledisloe Cup Festival as we countdown to this year’s Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney,” Mr Souris said.
The Cup’s appearance as part of the Festival enables the public to witness the nine kilogram piece of silverware, which Australia and New Zealand have contested since 1932 after it was donated by the Governor General of New Zealand.
Last year the Cup’s road show journey, as part of the inaugural Bledisloe Cup Festival, was hugely popular, attracting crowds at schools, Rugby Clubs and shopping centres.
The Cup will make its way around local Schools and Rugby Clubs in Sydney this Saturday 10 August as part of the Bledisloe Cup Round.
Local Rugby games across NSW this weekend will be known as The Bledisloe Cup Round as part of this year’s Festival.
Qantas Wallabies will make appearances at local Sydney Rugby games to support grassroots Rugby as part of the Round.
The Cup will also be on display at the Museum of Sydney as part of ‘The Magic of Bledisloe’ display, which celebrates timeless Bledisloe Cup moments with historic pieces from past games.