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By ARU Media Unit
The Qantas Wallabies pursuit of their first Bledisloe Cup triumph since 2002 will this year start in country New South Wales, with the team to embark on a five-day rural road trip through Dubbo, Orange, Bathurst and Penrith from Monday 4 August.
The new ‘Bush2Bledisloe’ team initiative was created by Qantas Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie and will bring passionate NSW country supporters closer to the national team than ever before with a range of community activities planned during each stage of the tour.
Fans in all four communities will get a unique opportunity to meet their Qantas Wallabies heroes as part of daily open training and fan activity sessions and will also get the chance to see and hold-up the prestigious Bledisloe Cup.
The Bush2Bledisloe road trip will also offer McKenzie’s squad a vastly different working environment as they prepare for their opening Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand in Sydney on Saturday 16 August.
“If you continue to repeat the same processes over and over again you can’t expect to get a different result, so I’m excited to be taking the playing group outside of their normal confines as we prepare for the opening Bledisloe Cup,” McKenzie said.
“We’re only going to improve by coming up with new solutions and by developing Bush2Bledisloe we’re creating an environment which is the inverse of what was done in the past.
“That same mindset applies to how we interact with our regional supporters and I really believe our national team should be engaging fans outside of our main cities.
“For this reason it was really important that the team created its own initiative to give back to the community.
“The reality is we expect these fans to come and watch us play, so we need to make the same commitment by bringing the game and the Qantas Wallabies to them.
“Sport plays such a huge role in the spirit of regional communities and club Rugby in many areas is the heartbeat of the town. Our squad will get the opportunity to witness that first-hand and I’ve got no doubt they will get just as much out of the experience as our fans.
“This is a major team initiative we are committed to making a huge success over a long period and we already have plans in place to develop the concept in new country areas next year.”
Qantas Wallabies and NSW Waratahs flyer Israel Folau said he was thrilled about the opportunity to be based in regional New South Wales.
“It’s no secret that I have a strong connection to the Western Sydney area and from all reports Rugby has a really passionate fan base throughout all of regional New South Wales,” Folau said.
“If I’m lucky enough to be part of the Australian squad at the time, the road trip is something that I, and all the guys, would relish being part of.
“It’s a great concept that will help our preparation before taking on the All Blacks and will give us a chance to reward our regional supporters for their ongoing and passionate support.”
A full schedule of the Qantas Wallabies Bush2Bledisloe opening training session and community engagement activities will be released in the lead-up to the opening Bledisloe Cup.
Tickets for the opening Bledisloe Cup and all 2014 Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship matches will go on sale to the general public from 9am, Tuesday 24 June through Ticketek.
Qantas Wallabies - Bush2Bledisloe Dates
• Monday 4 August – Dubbo
• Tuesday 5 August – Orange
• Wednesday 6 August – Bathurst
• Thursday 7 August – Bathurst
• Friday 8 August – Penrith