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Bledisloe fans outnumbered by AFL finals fever in Melbourne

By AAP
Photo by Steven Markham/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Rugby and Aussie Rules will go head-to-head in Melbourne this week as the Wallabies gear up for Thursday night’s clash with the All Blacks.

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Melbourne is buzzing with AFL finals fever, but Wallabies forward Pete Samu hopes the Bledisloe Cup showdown will help rugby win over some fans.

The Wallabies’ clash with the All Blacks at Marvel Stadium on Thursday will be the first meeting between the arch rivals in Melbourne since 2010.

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But the gold jerseys of Australian rugby fans will most likely be heavily outnumbered in the streets of Melbourne by the Magpie Army and Geelong’s loyal supporters.

More than 90,000 fans watched Collingwood beat Fremantle on Saturday night in a result that secures the Magpies a preliminary final berth against Sydney at the SCG this week.

Premiership favourites Geelong are set to attract a huge crowd when they host Brisbane at the MCG on Friday night.

Samu played his junior rugby with Moorabbin, but even he couldn’t escape the clutches of Aussie Rules while growing up in Victoria.

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“I went to a public school and played AFL in school and rugby on the weekend,” Samu said.

“Rugby wasn’t very big at the time, but it’s definitely growing. And hopefully having more games down there will grow the sport in Melbourne.

“It’s going to be quite special to play back home in front of our family and friends.

“But also being an AFL-dominated city, it’s pretty good to take rugby down there and hopefully grow the game there in Melbourne.”

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The Wallabies sit equal second on the Rugby Championship table, with Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, and South Africa all having 2-2 records.

The All Blacks sit on top courtesy of their extra bonus points.

The Wallabies will be aiming to bounce back from their recent 24-8 loss to South Africa in Sydney.

 

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