Wallabies and Pumas coming back to Canberra

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies are taking a Test to Canberra for the first time since 2010, set to play Argentina in the nation’s capital in September.

Australia’s Rugby Championship Test against Los Pumas will be their second clash in Canberra, 17 years after the first, which the Wallabies won 32-25.

It's been a while since the Wallabies played Argentina in Canberra. Photo: Getty ImagesThe Wallabies have played Argentina at the ground before, beating them in 2000 and have taken on the South Americans on the Gold Coast and in Perth in recent years.

While Canberra's Tests have been few and far between in the past, ARU chief operating officer Rob Clarke said a strong turnout could bring more Wallabies matches to Canberra.

"We've got a global season that we're working through with all major rugby nations that's starting to firm up and some of those commitments are already made but there are Test matches that are available and we're talking to a number of government agencies around the country as to where they best fit," he said.

"We love a packed stadium here and that will show everybody that Canberra is a great rugby market and deserves more Test matches." - Rob Clarke.

Brumbies coach and Wallabies assistant Stephen Larkham played in Australia's 2000 Test against the Wallabies and said fans could expect a far different encounter this time around.

“Canberra people love their rugby and whenever the Wallabies have played here in the past it’s been a big occasion,” he said.

“I played in the game when Argentina came here in 2000 and it was a close game, but the Pumas are a very different beast these days and were semi-finalists at the last World Cup. - Stephen Larkham

“Since they’ve been involved in The Rugby Championship with Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, they have ranked consistently in the top six or seven nations in the world.

“This is going to be a massive game for the Wallabies and hopefully, in future, Canberra gets plenty more opportunities to see the national team play here.”

Ben Alexander and Adam Ashley-Cooper helped promote the 2010 Test. Photo: Getty IamgesThe match will be one of Larkham's first as a full-time Wallabies attack coach, with the former flyhalf stepping away from his  Super Rugby role after this season.

"It'll give me a good opportunity to focus solely on the attacking components of the Wallabies and not worrying about the Brumbies campaign for the following year," he said.

"I think I'll certainly be looking forward to that come the end of Super Rugby season, but at the moment certainly focused on making sure the preparation for the Super Rugby season is as good as it can be."

Argentina and Brumbies scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli is hoping to be fit for the September 16 clash after a serious knee injury ruled him out of the Super Rugby season.

“This Test would be like a home game for me personally now that I play my Rugby here in Canberra and I’d love to have the opportunity to play for my country at this stadium" - Tomas Cubelli

“I’m putting all of my energy into my rehab and hoping that I can get back on the field before the international season comes around. It would be a very special occasion to be involved in this Test.”

The Wallabies have not lost a Test in Canberra in four clashes, beating Tonga, Argentina, Italy and Fiji between 1998 and 2010.

2017 Wallabies Test Calendar

June Series

June 10 - Wallabies vs Fiji, AAMI Park

June 17 - Wallabies vs Scotland, Allianz Stadium

June 24 - Wallabies vs Italy, Suncorp Stadium

Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup

August 19 - Wallabies vs New Zealand, ANZ Stadium, Sydney, 8pm AEST

August 26 - Wallabies vs New Zealand, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

September 9 - Wallabies vs South Africa, nib Stadium, Perth, 6pm AWST

September 16 - Wallabies vs Argentina, Canberra Stadium, 8pm AEST

October 21 - Wallabies vs New Zealand, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 7pm AEST