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The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has today announced the schedule for the three-match June Test Series for 2017, where the Qantas Wallabies will host Fiji, Scotland and Italy.
Each of the three Tests, to be played at Melbourne’s AAMI Park, Sydney’s Allianz Stadium, and Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, will kick off at 3pm AEST in a move to make the matches more appealing for families.
It will be the first time in Australia since the beginning of the professional era that all three matches in the mid-year Test window will be played in the afternoon.
The action will kick off in Melbourne when the Wallabies clash with Fiji at AAMI Park on Saturday, June 10. Fiji are the toast of World Rugby in the Sevens format after claiming the Olympic Gold medal in Rio, yet the Wallabies have dominated their Pacific rivals in the Test arena, including a 28-13 pool win in last year’s Rugby World Cup.
From there, the men in gold will return to Allianz Stadium to take on Scotland in a replay of their gripping 2015 Rugby World Cup quarter-final on Saturday, June 17. Scotland caused a major boilover on their last visit to our shores, emerging victorious from a water-logged Hunter Stadium in Newcastle, 9-6, in Wallabies vice-captain Michael Hooper’s debut Test.
Finally, Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane will play host to the clash between the Wallabies and Italy on Saturday, June 24. The Azzurri last toured Australia in 2009 and are yet to notch a win over the Wallabies in 16 attempts.
ARU CEO Bill Pulver said: “Fans have told us that they would like more opportunities to watch Test Rugby in the afternoon, with clearly the biggest reason being that an afternoon timeslot makes it much easier to take the family along.
“The 3pm kick off across all of our June Test matches for 2017 gives fans, particularly our youngest fans, the opportunity to come out see the Wallabies play at a time that’s more convenient for families and to experience the game in the best rectangular stadiums in the country.
“We set new attendance records at Allianz Stadium and AAMI Park during our England Series this year and had another very strong crowd at Suncorp Stadium. All three venues are purpose-built for Rugby and the afternoon kick offs always attract strong interest and create a tremendous atmosphere not just in the Stadiums but right across the cities.”
Victoria Acting Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Philip Dalidakis said the event at AAMI Park shapes as another flagship addition to Victoria’s bustling calendar of major sporting events.
“Attracting a game like Fiji allows us to build our rugby support base and attract more Wallabies games to Melbourne,” Minister Dalidakis said.
“Events like Wallabies Tests aren’t just great spectacles, they’re big boosts to the state’s economy. The big sporting events bring visitors in their droves – and that’s valuable opportunities for Victoria’s businesses.”
NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events and Minister for Sport, Stuart Ayres said: “There is nothing better than Test rugby on a Saturday afternoon, and the Wallabies match against Scotland at Allianz Stadium promises to be one of the highlights of the 2017 NSW sporting calendar. We are proud to support this game through our tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.”
Queensland Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones said she welcomed the ARU’s decision to play at a more family friendly time in Brisbane.
“I have no doubt that Suncorp Stadium, the best rugby stadium in the country, will be painted green and gold by fans of all ages for the Test next year,” Ms Jones said.
“I encourage visiting fans, whether Italian supporters or Wallabies supporters, to make the most of their stay and enjoy all that Brisbane and Queensland have to offer.”
Tickets for all three Qantas Wallabies 2017 June Tests will go on sale to the public on Tuesday 2 May, 2017.
2017 Qantas Wallabies June Test Series Schedule
Qantas Wallabies v Fiji, Saturday 10 June, AAMI Park
Qantas Wallabies v Scotland, Saturday 17 June, Allianz Stadium
Qantas Wallabies v Italy, Saturday 24 June, Suncorp Stadium
*All matches kick off at 3pm AEST.