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By ARU Media Unit
Dear Members of the Australian Rugby Community
We’re set for an exciting year with plenty to look forward to in 2014, including our Qantas Men’s Sevens team competing in the Commonwealth Games (July), the Women’s Rugby World Cup in France (August) and the launch of a new domestic competition – the National Rugby Championship (August).
For those of you playing Rugby this year – whether you started playing in March, or start later in the year – we wish you all the best for the season.
Growing Rugby is critical to the long-term sustainability of our game as we strive to ignite passion and create an inclusive Rugby community for our players, coaches, officials and volunteers. This year we hope to continue enjoying record participation numbers and achieve success at the highest levels of the game for our domestic and international teams.
Super Rugby has returned once more with the Brumbies, Waratahs, Reds, Rebels and Force all keen to stamp their authority on the competition. Based on the performances we’ve seen in the past few weeks, I’m confident one of our teams has the potential to bring the Asteron Life Super Rugby trophy back to Australia this year.
The Qantas Men’s and Women’s Sevens sides are showing real potential as they work towards Olympic qualification for the 2016 Games in Rio. Our Women’s side in particular has had an incredibly successful few months and now sits second in the world rankings of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series. Sevens provides important growth opportunities for us, and it’s terrific to see our young up and coming players excel in this Rugby format.
The Qantas Wallabies also enter 2014 with terrific momentum following the highly successful Spring Tour in the UK and Europe last November. The team has an important year ahead as they prepare for next year’s Rugby World Cup in England.
The Qantas Wallabies’ 2014 schedule kicks off in June in what will be a fiercely-contested Test series against France with matches in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney as part of the Castrol EDGE France Tour.
Later in the year, the Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship will once again see the Qantas Wallabies go head-to-head with arch-rivals the All Blacks, the Springboks and the Pumas. We will also host the third Bledisloe Test match this year and we’re hoping we’ll get our hands on the Cup for the first time since 2002.
We’ve got some exciting activity on the domestic front too with the launch of a new and exciting competition – the National Rugby Championship – kicking off in August. This is a great development for fans and will create a pathway to develop elite players, coaches and match officials. And we have other competitions underway at a more junior level, like the Junior Gold Cup – currently running right across Australia, and helping our younger players move through to the elite level.
As you can see, there’s a lot happening in 2014. It’s going to be a fantastic year!
It is an exciting time to be involved in Rugby and I want to thank you for your support and for choosing to be a part of our great game. The best way to support Australian Rugby is to come along to games. We hope to see everyone at our Super Rugby and Test matches to cheer on their favourite players.
I wish you all the very best for 2014 and would like to take this opportunity to again thank our volunteers and the all people right across Australia who make Rugby tick at a grass roots level. We couldn’t do it without your dedication and support!
As the year progresses, please visit rugby.com.au for all the latest Rugby news, information and updates.
Yours in Rugby
Australian Rugby Union
For all you need to know to kick-off the 2014 Rugby season, click here.
The IRB has announced its match officials list for the second stage of the 2014 IRB Junior World Championships overnight, with two Australians appointed to referee two of the games in New Zealand on Sunday.