The Wallabies will play a Test against Samoa in western Sydney in September to round off their Rugby World Cup match preparations, which coach Michael Cheika describes as ‘perfect’ World Cup preparation.
The match on September 7 will be the first rugby Test at the new Bankwest Stadium in Paramatta and Australia’s fifth and final match of their build-up to the World Cup, which starts in Japan later that month.
Australia has played 17th-ranked Samoa five times, winning the first four before being upset 32-23 in Sydney in their last clash in 2011.
Prior to the Samoa Test, Australia will play one round of Rugby Championship matches against New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina, plus a second Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks.
“With the World Cup in our sights this year we really want to build some momentum to help take our game up a level or two, I think that’s really important for us,” Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said.
“We will have a few new tricks up our sleeve this season so we might look a little different to what most people may expect.
“I’d say we’ll be going into this season’s tournaments — the Rugby Championship, the Bledisloe Cup and the World Cup — as underdogs but we will be doing everything we can to make 2019 our year.
“To play a team like Samoa in our takeoff game for the World Cup will be perfect.
“They have a mix of razzle-dazzle and physicality which will be exactly what we need before stepping out against Fiji in Sapporo.
“In front of our home crowd in a brilliant new stadium in Western Sydney it should double as plenty of fireworks as well as plenty of fun for everyone.”
Revelations the Pacific Islands may not be represented in the mooted World League sparked outrage in Australia and New Zealand, both of whom have benefited from selecting players born in the region.
Wallabies superstar Israel Folau, who is of Tongan descent, welcomed the chance for Australia to play a rare Test against one of the Pacific Island nations.
“There’s a few guys in the team of Samoan descent, so its exciting to be able to play against them,” Folau said.
“Every opportunity to play against Pacific nation sides is always a good thing.
“It’s so important for the overall growth of the game. There will be a packed out stadium and no doubt there will be plenty of Samoans and Pacific Islanders.”
With Fiji being Australia’s first World Cup pool opponent, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika welcomed the chance to play another Pacific Island nation.
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