The Qantas Wallabies will play England in a blockbuster three-Test series in Australia in June 2016, the Australian Rugby Union announced today.
It will be first time in the century-old rivalry between Australia and England that the two nations will meet in a three-Test series. The teams last met on three occasions in the same year in 2010, although just two matches were played on Aussie soil as part of England’s inbound tour.
Michael Cheika’s men will play their old rivals for the Cook Cup at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Melbourne’s AAMI Park and Allianz Stadium in Sydney.
Australian Rugby Union CEO, Bill Pulver said: “With a rivalry that dates back to 1909, it is remarkable that Australia and England have never before played a three-match series and the history of this occasion is sure to add to the anticipation for the tour.
“The process for determining the venues for the series was centered on providing the best fan experience. All three venues are Rugby-friendly, offer a fantastic view of the action, and will generate a superb atmosphere with Wallabies fans and the touring English fans coming out in force.
Qantas Wallabies Head Coach, Michael Cheika said: “There is no question that our traditional rivalry with the English will mean this three-Test series something special.”
“To represent you country in three tests against the old enemy, in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, is something that does not happen all the time and I am sure we will make the most of this opportunity.”
More history will be made when Melbourne’s AAMI Park hosts its first Qantas Wallabies Test. The home of the Melbourne Rebels will welcome the visitors on Saturday, June 18, for the second match of the series.
The Honourable John Eren, Minister for Tourism and Major Events, said: “There’s no greater rivalry in sport than Australia’s with England. This Test is another chance for us to prove nobody does the big sporting events quite like us.”
Melbourne & Olympic Parks CEO, Brian Morris, said AAMI Park was living up to its reputation of delivering amazing atmosphere for world-class games.
“This year has been a year of firsts for the stadium – our first Asian Cup, our first A-League Grand Final, and today we’re absolutely delighted to announce our first-ever Qantas Wallabies Test,” Mr Morris said.
The opening Test of the series will be played at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday, June 11, where the Qantas Wallabies will look to strike first and add to their imposing record at the venue.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Kate Jones, said Queensland looked forward to hosting the first Test of the series, and welcoming the English team and their supporters to Suncorp Stadium in 2016.
"The Australia versus England test match will be a highlight on Queensland's It's Live! events calendar which promotes the perfect union of world-class events and destinations,” Ms Jones said.
The last time the two nations met at Suncorp Stadium, on England’s 2004 Tour, the Wallabies exacted revenge for their defeat in the Rugby World Cup Final the previous year with a crushing 51-15 defeat of the tourists.
“Suncorp Stadium is one the best venues in the world to watch Rugby and I have no doubt Queenslanders will come out in force to get behind the Wallabies,” Queensland Minister for Sport and Racing, The Honourable Bill Byrne said.
“The fact that the ARU has chosen Suncorp Stadium to host one of the Test matches is a vote of confidence in the venue and the support rugby has in Queensland. The match will be a great economic stimulus for Queensland with the fans visiting the city of Brisbane and enjoying themselves in local pubs, club and café’s and staying at our hotels.”
The third and final Test will be played at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Saturday, June 25. It will be the first time the two countries have faced off at the Moore Park venue since 1997, where Australia triumphed 25-6 in front of a 40,000-strong crowd.
Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust CEO, Jamie Barkley said: "We look forward to hosting the Wallabies and England in June next year for what will be a premier event for Sydney to enjoy, and one which will generate an enormous amount of interest from sports fans across the nation."
"It is clear that fans love watching the Wallabies play at Moore Park, which was demonstrated by the highest ever rugby crowd of 43,188 at Allianz Stadium last year when Australia took on France."
Qantas Wallabies v England, June 2016
Saturday 11 June
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Saturday 18 June
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Saturday 25 June
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
*Further details including on-sale dates and match kick-off times to be advised