On Friday the 6th of May the Australian Universities Rugby Union will take on New Zealand Universities in their (once again) annual inter varsity Test Match. Although it has been 4 years since the last fixture, the Varsity Test Match has once again found a place in the Australian Rugby calendar.
After energetic actions from the members of the NZU & AURU in 2011 to re-establish the clash - the fixture will be a feature of an outstanding night of rugby at the University of Sydney which will also feature a Premier Match between Sydney University Football Club and Northern Suburbs RUFC at 7.30pm.
The last match between Australian Universities & New Zealand Universities was held in 2007 at St John's College Oval, Sydney University. That day saw the visitors win 29 - 8 in torrential rain and howling wind. However, since the annual Trans Tasman match was re-instituted in 1993 the matches have been fiercely contested affairs & a genuine stepping stone for numerous students to higher representative honours.
The President of the Australian Universities Rugby Union - Trevor Walsh - was glowing about the coming fixture.
“This match has been a core component of NZ & Australian rugby for a long time and the AURU has been touring (and playing) since 1932.... (Obviously) ....In recent years we have all witnessed the fantastic effect that Super rugby has had on the game in Australia (but) traditional fixtures and Unions such as the NZU & AURU cannot be left to wither! The AURU aspires to provide the highest level of amateur rugby in Australia and we see AURU representation as a genuine stepping stone to the professional ranks.”
In the past the matches of the Australian Universities Rugby Union were a feature of the representative rugby landscape and the AURU regularly played touring international teams. The history books record that in the recent past Australian Universities played NZ 1980 (L33-3), 1985 Fiji 1985 (L26-24), France 1990 (L26-19) and Canada 1996 (L19-6).
Famous former AURU representatives include John Coolican, Declan Curran, Simon Poidevan, Duncan Hall, Michael Hawker, Jim L'Estrange, Pat Howard, Andy McIntyre, David Nucifora, John Langford, Rod Kafer, Brendan Nasser, Jeff Miller, Rob Egerton, Greg Martin, Damien Frawley, David Dix, Nick Farr-Jones, & Justin Harrison.
The AURU has received outstanding support from numerous Universities and rugby bodies across Australia. In March 2011 the Laffan Cup: Australian Universities Rugby Championships were held at the University of Western Sydney – Richmond and the next week Sydney University and The University of Queensland contested the Australian Club Championships at Ballymore.
From these events AURU preliminary squads were identified and from that selection process the final AURU squad selected.
The Trans Tasman Varsity Test Kicks off at 5.50pm at the University of Sydney on Friday and a fantastic night’s of entertainment is planned with giveaways, special activities, and outstanding rugby. Entry for all school & University students is FREE.
The Australian Universities Squad:
Heath Tessmann, Dave Howard, Tim Aistrope (Captain), Matt Arvier, Will Thompson, Ryan Gillingham, Con Foley, (UNI of QLD) Phoenix Battye, Ted Postal (UNI. OF W.A.) Jack Marples, Josh Ellis – Flint, Alistair Ryan, Tim Reid, Dave Fitter, Adam Campbell, Chris Chapman, Callum Fryer (UNI of SYD) James Ambrosini, Tom Marshall (UNI of CANBERRA), Lachlan Porteous, Mitch Hardy (UNI of WEST.SYD), Robbie Mardus (UNI. OF W’GONG), Harley Whaikawa (UNI of MELB.)
Management: Nick Ryan (Head Coach) & Murray Harley (Coach).
The New Zealand Universities Touring squad:
Grant Polson (Massey), Kahn Underwood (Lincoln), Tom Vaughn (Auckland), Rob Foreman (Massey), Tom Meates (Canterbury), Wyatt McKay (Auckland), Josh Townsend (Captain; Auckland), Alby Herron (Auckland), Rob Verbakel (Otago), Paul Grant (Otago), Brad Cameron (Otago), Callum Gibbins (Massey), Brendan O'Connor (Canterbury), Sione Tuafa (Waikato) David Ormrod (Auckland), Kurt Davies (Canterbury), Brad Linklater (Auckland), Andrew Parata (Auckland), Jamie Helleur (Auckland), Guy Schwikkard (Otago), Patrick Osbourne (Canterbury), Casey Stone (Massey), Kaleb Kahupukoro (Massey), Lance Gahan (Canterbury), Nick McLennan (Lincoln).
Management: Paul Hessian (Head Coach) & Victor SImpson (Coach).