John Eales Medal 2011 - bigger than ever

by Staff Writer

Australian Rugby Union today announced that for the first time fans have an exclusive opportunity to attend the game’s night of nights - the 2011 John Eales Medal awards.

From 6pm on Thursday, 1 September from, Rugby fans will have the chance to celebrate Rugby’s prestigious awards night under the Big Top at Luna Park with some of the game’s past and present stars, including previous Wallabies World Cup captains.

From 9am tomorrow Rugby fans can log onto www.rugby.com.au and lodge their vote for who they think should be named the 2011 Australia’s Choice – Qantas Wallaby of the Year and in doing so go into the draw to win a double pass to the prestigious awards evening.

ARU Managing Director and CEO, John O’Neill, said it was appropriate for Rugby’s prestigious awards night to reflect the magnitude of the Wallabies journey in 2010 and 2011 and that Rugby fans should have the chance to share in the occasion.

“This is a huge year for Rugby that began in Hong Kong in October last year against the All Blacks and will hopefully finish in October this year in New Zealand against the All Blacks with the same result,” Mr O’Neill said.

“Moving the awards to the Big Top at Luna Park allows us to make the evening bigger than ever before and in turn offer 150 Rugby fans the opportunity to join us to celebrate the game’s night of nights.

“We have also made 150 tickets available to junior Rugby clubs in Sydney to ensure the next generation of John Eales Medal winners can enjoy the event, so in total we are asking 300 of our loyal and passionate supporters to join us on the night.”

As well as a new location the 2011 John Eales Medal will also take on some added features with a ‘Red Carpet’ entry for players and VIPs providing Rugby fans the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the game’s best before the awards evening.

Mr O’Neill encouraged those lucky enough to secure a ticket to the prestigious evening to don their Gold or Green in support of the Wallabies.

“The John Eales Medal is a celebration of all that is great about our game and in 2011 we want our fans to help create a sense of excitement around not just the awards but the Rugby World Cup, which begins the following week,” Mr O’Neill said.

“I know everyone attending would love to see a sea of Gold in the crowd as they either walk the red carpet or look out from the stage and I am sure those attending will help us achieve that.”

The 2011 John Eales Medal is decided by polling from 10 Tests – the five on last year’s Spring Tour, the Castrol Edge Rugby Test against Samoa and the four Castrol Edge Tri Nations Tests against the Springboks and All Blacks.

Voting for the John Eales Medal is undertaken after each Test and involves every member of the Qantas Wallabies game-day squad.

The 22 players each cast votes on a 3-2-1 basis.

Other awards presented on the night include the Joe French Award, Rookie of the Year, Try of the Year and the Sevens Player of the Year – Shawn Mackay Award. The 2011 Hall of Fame inductees will also be honoured.

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