Australian Rugby Union Managing Director and CEO, John O’Neill AO, was today joined by NSW Minister for Sport and Recreation, Graham Annesley, Destination NSW CEO, Sandra Chipchase, Qantas Wallabies Coach Robbie Deans and Qantas Wallabies lock, Nathan Sharpe to launch the inaugural Bledisloe Cup Festival.
The beginning of the Festival also marks the countdown to the opening Test of The Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship between the Qantas Wallabies and All Blacks at ANZ Stadium on Saturday 18 August.
Highlights of the inaugural Festival include The Castrol EDGE Rugby Classics Golf Day with Classic Wallabies and Classic All Blacks stars, a Samsung Snapshot photography competition, race days, Fan days, a UN Women Australia Rugby lunch and a 1930s-style Ball.
The inaugural Bledisloe Cup Festival provides fans of all ages with a number of chances to celebrate one of the world’s most iconic sporting contests – the Qantas Wallabies v All Blacks.
Born out of the 10-year agreement between ARU and the NSW Government, through Destination NSW, to stage an annual Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney each year from 2012 to 2021, the Festival will amplify the blockbuster trans-Tasman clash.
ARU Managing Director and CEO, John O’Neill AO, said the Bledisloe Cup Festival provided a great opportunity to celebrate and build on the Bledisloe Cup Test each year.
“The Bledisloe Cup Test is one of the most highly anticipated Tests of any season, as it usually sees the top two nations in World Rugby going head-to-head,” Mr O’Neill said.
“Over the next 10 years the Bledisloe Cup Festival will build on this anticipation and excitement and help to create an even bigger atmosphere.
“With a variety of events appealing to a range of fans, supporters and sports enthusiasts of all ages, more people will be able to join the excitement of one of the most anticipated games in world Rugby.
“Local, interstate and overseas fans travelling to see the match now have the chance to learn and enjoy the passion and history behind the Bledisloe battle.
“I encourage everyone in Sydney or who are coming to Sydney for the game to game to make sure they get out and experience some of the events on offer.”
The inaugural Bledisloe Cup Festival also features the Rivals in Rugby Brothers in War display at the Museum of Sydney.
The free two-week display showcases Rugby artefacts, pictures and jerseys from the early years of the Bledisloe Cup and highlights the contribution both Australia and New Zealand Rugby made to World War II.
NSW Minister for Sport and Recreation, Graham Annesley, said he was pleased to help officially kick-off the inaugural Bledisloe Cup Festival.
“Today marks the opening of the Bledisloe Cup Festival celebrations as part of the Destination NSW partnership which will see Sydney hosting the Bledisloe Cup for the next 10 years,” Mr Annesley said.
“A week-long program of community events will continue right through to match day when the Qantas Wallabies will tackle the All Blacks.
“There is something for everyone during the festival and I’m confident Rugby fans will be bristling with anticipation by the time Saturday week’s clash arrives.”
As well as the vast array of events on offer the iconic Bledisloe Cup is also touring across parts of NSW throughout the Festival.
Having started at the Museum of Sydney’s Rivals in Rugby Brothers in War display last week it has been making its way through a number of local Rugby clubs, schools and shopping centres, providing fans the chance to the largest trophy in world Rugby up close.
The iconic piece of silverware that represents trans-Tasman Rugby supremacy will also feature at a number of the Festival’s events through the week.
To view the entire calendar of events visit – http://ausrug.by/LTt9ta