Cheika expects more neutral Tests

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika sees more Tests being played in neutral venues in the future, but he’s not keen on Australia coughing up its home fixtures.

The Wallabies take on Argentina at Twickenham this weekend, which after five consecutive World Cup matches last season has become somewhat familiar for Australia.

Saturday’s will be the first Rugby Championship Test played outside the Southern Hemisphere, after Los Pumas sold off their homeground advantage to shift the game to Twickenham.


“I think there’s opportunities to play all over the place,” he said.

“That’s the commerce of the game and the different opportunities in the commerce of the game.

“It’s happening and that’s going to happen more and more .

“The stadia are tendering for games, everyone’s into it.

“It’s a matter of trying to fit those into the fixtures but also without leaving your home crowd.”

While he’s a vocal supporter of the general concept, Cheika said he wouldn’t be happy for it to come at the expense of one of the Wallabies’ Australia-based matches.

“For us in Australia, we get only a few games a year at home,” he said.

Rob Simmons scored a try against Argentina in the 2015 Rugby World Cup semifinal.“We love playing in front of our home crowd, so I wouldn’t be too keen on letting any of our home games go, I’ll assure you of that.

“Argentina, I imagine, have got a reason for bringing their home game here and for us it’s exciting to be able to.

“The thought of playing Argentina in England - back in the day would never have even thought it was happening unless it was just a friendly game or something like that.”

The Wallabies have played Bledisloe Cup Tests in neutral venues in recent years, including Hong Kong and Tokyo and there was a potential opportunity for that to occur again with the redevelopment of ANZ Stadium.

Those plans have reportedly been scuttled, with a preference for the side to play its home Bledisloe Tests in Australia while the new Sydney stadium is constructed, between 2019 and 2022.

The Wallabies take on Argentina at Twickenham on Sunday morning at 5:30am AEDT, LIVE on TEN and FOX SPORTS.

The Wallabies are in London ahead of The Rugby Championship finale and Rugby World Cup semi-final rematch against Argentina at Twickenham. Tickets available at www.ticketmaster.co.uk

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