International Rugby returns to Perth with the Qantas Wallabies announcing Tests against Argentina and South Africa at the home of the Western Force, nib Stadium, in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
The final Rugby Championship match on home soil for the Qantas Wallabies in 2016 will double as the inaugural Test at the rectangular venue, where Western Australian fans will experience the action closer than ever before when the Wallabies host Argentina on Saturday, September 17.
Test Rugby will then return to the venue, known by locals as the ‘Force Field’, the following season when the Qantas Wallabies host South Africa in a blockbuster 2017 Rugby Championship clash.
Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver said: “nib Stadium is a wonderful venue for Rugby and certainly delivers a fantastic atmosphere when the ‘Sea of Blue’ fill the stands for Western Force matches.
“We want that sea of blue to turn gold on September 17 when the Qantas Wallabies host the Pumas from Argentina next year, and again when we welcome the Springboks back to Perth in 2017.
“Our fans deserve the best possible experience when they come to a Test match and a move to a rectangular venue which is fan-friendly and purpose-built for Rugby is a great outcome for fans.
“I would like to thank the Western Australian Government for their support of the Qantas Wallabies and Australian Rugby and we look forward to bringing the Qantas Wallabies to nib Stadium for the first time next year.”
Tourism WA’s Executive Director of Events, Gwyn Dolphin, said funding major events like international rugby was a key part of the government’s tourism strategy.
“We are proud to support the ARU in bringing the Wallabies and world-class rugby tests to Perth as they will attract visitors, showcase our beautiful city to the world through broadcasts and add to Perth’s growing vibrancy,” Mr Dolphin said.
Prior to the clash with Argentina on September 17, the Qantas Wallabies will host Rugby Championship matches against the All Blacks at ANZ Stadium, Sydney, on August 20, and the Springboks at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, on September 10.
This schedule, in addition to a history-making three Test series against England in June, will ensure the domestic calendar of international Rugby in 2016 is one of the most highly-anticipated in recent history.
ANZ Stadium Managing Director, Daryl Kerry, said: “Looking ahead to 2016, Sydney will again host the opening Bledisloe Cup Test and the first Rugby Championship Test as part of an exciting international rugby schedule, so fans have much to look forward to.”
Suncorp Stadium General Manager Alan Graham said the venue was excited to be hosting two of Rugby’s international powerhouses, South Africa and England in 2016.
“The Wallabies have a great track record here against the Springboks having lost only one of the six Tests played at the Stadium since it opened in 2003. Following Australia’s last gasp, blade of grass match-winning try just over a week ago, South Africa will be counting down the days to September 10 to seek revenge,” Mr Graham said.
Australia will also play away matches against the All Blacks (August 27), South Africa (October 1) and Argentina (October 8) in 2016 as the Rugby Championship reverts to its traditional home-and-away format after a truncated 2015 schedule.
Qantas Wallabies 2016 Rugby Championship home schedule:
Qantas Wallabies v New Zealand, Saturday 20 August, ANZ Stadium Sydney
Qantas Wallabies v South Africa, Saturday 10 September, Suncorp Stadium Brisbane
Qantas Wallabies v Argentina, Saturday 17 September, nib Stadium Perth