Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

‘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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

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.”

ADVERTISEMENT

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.

Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
3
Draws
0
Wins
2
Average Points scored
26
29
First try wins
60%
Home team wins
60%

ADVERTISEMENT

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.”

Watch the World Rugby U20s Championship live and for free on RugbyPass TV. Register here now
*Unavailable in Africa, NZ, Fiji, Samoa, Papua NG and Tonga

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

3 Comments
B
Bob 15 days ago

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

j
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.

M
Mitch 17 days ago

Need to make Australia a fortress again full stop.

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

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

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

5 Go to comments
TRENDING
TRENDING Ulster part ways with coach just days before preseason starts Ulster part ways with coach just days before preseason starts
Search