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‘Got to win’: Wallabies want to make Sydney a rugby ‘fortress’ once again

By Finn Morton
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto during a Wallabies training session at Ballymore Stadium on June 27, 2024 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Australia are on a five match losing run in Sydney, with their most recent win coming in 2019, but the men in gold are intent on turning the city into a rugby “fortress” starting with their opening match of the year on Saturday.


In their first Test match under new coach Joe Schmidt, the Wallabies will run out onto the field at Allianz Stadium for a clash with a familiar foe. The Aussies will come up against Wales who won their last meeting 40-6 in Lyon last year.

That defeat all but knocked Eddie Jones’ Wallabies out of the Rugby World Cup in the pool stage. It’s true, Portugal came very close to a result against Fiji which would’ve seen the Aussies progress but it wasn’t to be in the end.

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While Nic White recently spoke about the hurt from that match, this is a Wallabies team at the dawn of a new era. The pain from last year’s World Cup disappointment will always be remembered, but with a new coach leading the way, now is the time to put it behind them.

The Wallabies want to start their international season with a win, and by doing so, hopefully seize “a real big opportunity” to inspire the Sydney crowd.

“It’s important for the team to really show out and sort of make Sydney feel like a really big home game again. I know Brisbane, in the past, has felt like probably the biggest home game for the Wallabies team,” outside back Tom Wright told reporters on Tuesday.

“But as a kid growing up here, being able to get to Wallabies games at the old Allianz… I think it’s a real big opportunity to win back or create a little bit more of an atmosphere for the Wallabies there.”


The Wallabies’ most recent international win in Sydney was a clinical 34-15 triumph over Samoa in their final warm-up Test before the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

After that, the Wallabies’ run of defeats began with a 43-5 loss to the All Blacks at Stadium Australia. But to their credit, the Aussies bounced back a week later when they stunned their great rivals in Brisbane.

Argentina held on for a 16-all draw in 2020, England downed the Wallabies 21-17 at the Sydney Cricket Ground a couple of years after that, and South Africa got the better of the Aussies 24-8 later on in 2022.

But the Aussies’ most recent Test in Sydney was a heartbreaking 34-31 loss to Argentina at CommBank Stadium out in Parramatta 12 months ago. It was a tough defeat, with Len Ikitau a major injury casualty from that physical contest.


Last 5 Meetings

Average Points scored
First try wins
Home team wins


The Wallabies have two opportunities to snap that run this month. After taking on Warren Gatland’s Wales this weekend in Sydney and then again the following week in Melbourne, the Australians will return to New South Wales’ capital to take on Georgia.

Lukhan Salakia-Loto echoed Wright’s comments by insisting the Wallabies want to make Sydney “a fortress” once again.

“I also grew up here in Sydney, out west. I’ve got a lot of friends and family here, as well as a lot of memories as my journey started here as well,” Salakaia-Loto said.

“Sydney is a big part of rugby in Australia. Like Wrighty said, we want to make it a fortress here and that starts this weekend.

“To do that you’ve got to win games and hopefully we do that on Saturday.”

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Bob 15 days ago

Excited to see Flook & Hunter Paisami go in the centres.
Loose forward trio suggests an expansive game.

john 17 days ago

Appointing Liam Wright as captain is mad. He is a very ordinary captain of the Reds, who crumble when the pressure is on because Wright is unable to inspire them.
A couple of years ago when he was captain and the Reds were floundering, Brad Thorn was forced to appoint James O’Connor as co captain over him and the Reds improved immediately. They improved even more when Wright was injured.

This is just the cunning way kiwi coaches work in Australia to undermine us.

Mitch 17 days ago

Need to make Australia a fortress again full stop.

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finn 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

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