Bledisloe locked in at new ANZ Stadium until 2031

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Bledisloe Cup will be played at a new ANZ Stadium until 2031, under the newly announced stadium refurbishments.

Construction of the new stadium will finish in 2021, with Sydney guaranteed one Bledisloe Cup Test for the following decade.

That is just the tip of the iceberg for Australian Rugby, with one June Test series match guaranteed for Sydney every year until 2031.

ANZ Stadium the clear winner in Sydney Stadium war. As well as those annual events, there will be one 2025 British and Irish Lions Test and a tour match locked in for the new stadium.

Further down the track, ARU CEO Bill Pulver believes the new stadia network could help boost Australia’s chances to host a second Rugby World Cup, though that wouldn’t likely come to fruition until the 2031 tournament.

In the years of construction, Sydney will be guaranteed either a South Africa or Argentina Test match, in place of the Bledisloe.

Pulver said the new agreement would work for everyone in rugby.

“We are delighted the state government allocating 1.6 billion to a stadia network in the world’s greatest city and the world’s three world class rectangular stadia that will support everyone from the Waratahs, to the Wallabies, to the NRC,” he said.

The new ANZ Stadium: New bowl constructed within existing stadium. New fixed roof over north & south stands. New closing roof over stadium.While Pulver’s original preference was to build a new stadium across from the existing Allianz, he said this new proposal would work for everyone, with a vastly improved viewing experience at the new Homebush ground.

“I think it’s a win,” he said.

“A State Government contributing 1.6 billion to rectangular stadia is nothing short of an incredible win.

“It’s a very bold and imaginative plan.

“There are bowl challenges at ANZ because you are so far from the ground but in the new stadium, even the seats farthest away will be 50 metres closer to the game.

“If you’ve ever had the pleasure of going to *(Wales’s) Millennium stadium, when the roof is on the atmospherics are mind blowing.”

Kyle Patterson (FFA) Stuart Ayres MP (NSW Sports Minister) The Hon Mike Baird MP (NSW Premier) Todd Greenberg (NRL) and Bill Pulver

The development is a positive for the NSW Waratahs as well, with the club free to play at Allianz Stadium during any construction, a move they had fought hard for in recent weeks.

Keeping matches at Homebush also complements an ARU push for the hearts and minds of Western Sydney, Pulver said.

“I think it’s fantastic,” he said.

“There’ll be three world class rectangular stadia (in Sydney) catering for 30,000, 40-50,000 and 75,000.

“We’ve obviously got a specific interest of expanding into Western Sydney and we’re working with the NSW Rugby Union to address that.

“I think confirming ANZ stadium at Homebush is a central component and really supports it.”

Speaking at Thursday’s announcement, NSW premier Mike Baird said the decision was a win for NSW.

“We have secured a great win for the people of NSW through content agreements with the sporting codes,” he said.

“It means the country’s premium sports content and major events will be showcased in Australia’s global city for decades to come, as a result of our investment in world class venues."

Sports minister Stuart Ayres said the move would put NSW ahead of other states that have undergone major stadium upgrades in recent years.

“It is great news for these codes, as participation and attendance grows in the years to come, but more importantly it is great news for the NSW economy,” he said.