Wallabies and Wallaroos to play Bledisloe double header

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies and Wallaroos will play a Bledisloe double header in Sydney for the first time in 2018.

Australia and New Zealand played back-to-back trans-Tasman Tests in 2016, in Auckland, and that will happen again this year, another first for the teams.

The Australian clash will be extra-special for the Wallaroos, their first Test in Australia since 2008, and just their 50th in history.

To put that mark in perspective, some of Europe's most seasoned players have notched more than 100 individual caps.

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper and Wallaroos flanker Grace Hamilton at ANZ. Photo: Getty ImagesRising Wallaroos star Grace Hamilton said the challenge of playing the world champion Black Ferns twice in a season would be an exciting one.

New Zealand won their two Tests in 2016, 67-3 and 29-3 in Auckland and North Harbour, respectively, but Australian women's XVs has made some significant strides since then.

"The Black Ferns are the best in the world but you want to play the best to beat the best," Hamilton said.

"I think looking forward I think we've got a really good group of girls that we can develop further and looking to the 2021 World Cup we're only going to get better.

"To be here, to have a home crowd and play on home soil, I've never played on home soil in the Wallaroos jersey, so it'll be massive moment for all of us."

The announcement comes off the back of the inaugural Super W competition, which NSW's women won with an extra-time penalty.

The Wallabies haven't won the Bledisloe since 2002, while the Wallaroos have been up against it when facing the world champion Black Ferns, but have had little opportunity to play Tests between World Cups in the past.

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper said he was excited to see the women share their stage in Sydney, particularly after being the second act in a thrilling extra-time Super W final at Allianz Stadium last Friday between Queensland and NSW.

"With the Super W and being part of the Waratahs group and we had a couple of the double headers then how successful it was," he said.

"I've always been a fan of there being a game before and seeing how competitive and how much enjoyment the women get out their rugby and have that game so close with the men and women playing is outstanding.

"The game last week on the Friday, we're in the change rooms getting ready for the game, we're hearing this game's going to extra-time, some huge plays at the back end of the game.

"It was really exciting for us to watch and gets us into the game when we're about to play."

ANZ will host the opening Bledisloe Cup match on August 18, kicking off at 8pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.