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Rugby Australia considers first afternoon Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney since 1995

By Finn Morton
ALL BLACK WING JONAH LOMU OF NEW ZEALAND POWERS THROUGH THE AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE DURING THEIR BLEDISLOE CUP RUGBY UNION MATCH IN SYDNEY TODAY. NEW ZEALAND BEAT AUSTRALIA 34 TO 23 TO WIN THE CUP. Mandatory Credit: David Rogers/ALLSPORT

The Wallabies’ home Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks in Sydney could go ahead at a “more family-friendly” time as Rugby Australia reportedly considers an afternoon kick-off for the September Test.

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After two Tests at home to South Africa, and another two-match series away to Argentina, the Australians will set their sights on winning back the Bledisloe Cup in late September.

Australia will host their Trans-Tasman rivals at Sydney’s Accor Stadium on September 22 before travelling across the ditch for a potentially historic Test a week later at Wellington’s Sky Stadium.

While the international season is still months away, Australian rugby fans may have something to get excited about as RA weighs up having the Bledisloe Cup Test in the afternoon.

There have only been three Bledisloe Cup Tests in history during the professional era, which includes Tests at Brisbane’s Lang Park (Suncorp Stadium) in 1996 and Perth’s Optus Stadium in 2021.

But it’s been almost three decades since Sydney hosted an afternoon clash between the two great rivals. With the late great Jonah Lomu leading the way, the All Blacks won the Bledisloe with a 34-23 win at the Sydney Football Stadium in 1995.

It’s time a long time coming, but that streak of night Tests in Sydney may come to an end at Accor Stadium in 2024. As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, RA is in talks with stakeholders including Stan Sport and Nine’s Wide World of Sports about an afternoon Test.

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“The narrative I have been trying to push is the connection between the professional game and the community, and I think with the more family-friendly Test matches and professional games so that families and young kids can attend, and the more we open it up to more people, the better it is going to be,” RA CEO Phil Waugh said, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald.

“It is certainly something we are exploring, and we are just working through with our partners to make sure it can work.

“But there will be no club rugby and there will be schools rugby, so it will be a really good opportunity to get our rugby community in a family-friendly environment, at a massive Test match.”

As reported by SMH’s Ian Payten, Phil Waugh also confirmed that the Wallabies’ clash with Georgia at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium is set to be an afternoon kick-off.

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July Test matches

Australia versus Wales at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium on July 6

Australia versus Wales at Melbourne’s AAMI Park on July 13

Australia versus Georgia at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium on July 20

Rugby Championship & Bledisloe Cup

Australia versus South Africa at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on August 10

Australia versus South Africa at Perth’s Optus Stadium on August 17

Argentina versus Australia at TBD on August 31

Argentina versus Australia at TBD on September 7

Australia versus New Zealand at Sydney’s Accor Stadium on September 21

New Zealand versus Australia at Wellington’s Sky Stadium on September 28

Spring Tour

Four Tests – TBD

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