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Wallabies name squad to face Argentina in Sydney’s only Test of ’23

By Matt Cleary

LOS Pumas of Argentina will return to the scene of their country’s most famous rugby victory when they take on the Wallabies at CommBank Stadium on Saturday July 15 in the only Sydney Test match this year.

It was here in November of 2020 that Argentina beat the famous New Zealand All Blacks, 25-15, securing their country’s first victory – home, away, anywhere – over the Kiwi rugby powerhouse.

Two years later Argentina followed it up with perhaps their greatest victory – a 25-18 win over those same All Blacks, but this time on the Kiwis’ home turf in Christchurch.

That the All Blacks romped to a 53-3 win a week later didn’t diminish the achievement of Los Pumas, their inspiration gleaned from Australian coach Michael Cheika. Simply: the former Waratahs and Wallabies coach, made the Argentine players believe.

And they still do, sitting just behind Australia in eighth position on a crowded World Rugby rankings list.

Skilful and dynamic No.8 Rob Valetini has been named in Eddie Jones’s first squad ahead of the Rugby World Cup. Picture: Rugby Australia

It won’t have gone unnoticed by Cheika’s fellow Randwick Old Boy, the famously competitive and super-canny man-manager, Eddie Jones.

The Wallabies coach has named a handy squad of youth and experience ahead of the two-Test ‘bracket’ which begins against the Springboks on Saturday 8 July in Pretoria and runs into the Pumas in Parramatta.

An interesting selection is uncapped Tom Hooper, a two-metre tall 22-year-old named to start on the opposite flank to veteran warhorse Michael Hooper (no relation) who’ll run out in his traditional No.7.

Jones told reporters that Hooper the younger impresses him because “he rips in, mate”.

“He had a late start because of injury and his first few games weren’t very impressive and I thought does Stevie [Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham] really know what he’s talking about here?

“But certainly, towards the end of the season, he was an absolute standout,” Jones said.

Bolter from the Bush: ACT Brumbies flanker Tom Hooper. Picture: Getty Images / Rugby Australia.

In the halves Jones has elected to give first dibs to veterans Nic White and Quade Cooper with Tate McDermott and potential debutant Carter Gordon expected to play long minutes in the altitude of Loftus Versfeld.

It would not surprise to see Jones swap this arrangement around come the Sydney Test.

Prop Zane Nonggorr, 21, and lock Richie Arnold, 33, are other likely debutants, while former Melbourne Storm winger Suli Vunivalu will look to add to his one Test dossier.

Nick Frost will be a go-to in the line-out for Australia. Picture: Rugby Australia.

With a vocal contingent of Pumas fans expected in a crowd upwards of 25,000, CommBank Stadium’s famously sheer seating will provide a brilliant and ‘tight’ match-day atmosphere.

In a World Cup year the Test match is the only chance for Sydneysiders to see the Wallabies ahead of the Rugby World Cup in France that kicks off 8 September.

Tickets are available at Ticketek.

For all match-day information including transport, click here.

The Rugby Championship – Wallabies vs Argentina

Saturday 15 July

6:30pm: Gates Open

7:55pm: Kick Off: The eToro Rugby Championship: Wallabies v Argentina.

Super Rugby Heads West as Waratahs Confirm Three Games at Western Sydney Stadium

Super Rugby Heads West as Waratahs Confirm Three Games at Western Sydney Stadium

Rugby fans and supporters in Western Sydney received a boost today with the announcement that the NSW Waratahs will play three Super Rugby matches in the region in 2019.

The new Western Sydney Stadium will be the venue for three of the team’s competition matches – against the Sharks (South Africa), Jaguares (Argentina) and a local Aussie derby against the Brumbies.

Rugby followers in the area can snap up a special 3-match membership deal from $55 for the games in Parramatta. Additionally, all junior players who register with their club next year will receive a free 2019 NSW Waratahs season membership.

NSW Rugby CEO Andrew Hore said the new facility in Western Sydney provided a great opportunity to showcase the sport at its best to the local area and the international markets where rugby is played.

“Western Sydney is one of the fastest growing regions in NSW with a diverse population that has a strong passion for rugby. We want to capitalise on this and by taking the NSW Waratahs to that region it will hopefully further encourage more youngsters to take up the sport.

“This also aligns with our broader Western Sydney strategy that has looked specifically at the needs of the area to grow the game and encourage participation and fan engagement.

“The fact that we will be one of the first sports to play at the newly developed, state-of-the-art Western Sydney Stadium is a real opportunity for our fans and rugby participants in Western Sydney.

“We want to continue to grow and develop the sport in that area and the fact that the NSW Waratahs will play three matches there next year will certainly help us towards that goal,” Hore said.

Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres said Western Sydney Stadium is set to give fans an experience unlike anything they have seen before.

“No longer taken for granted, no longer second best, Western Sydney is now leading the way when it comes to sporting infrastructure and we welcome the NSW Waratahs to this fantastic new facility,” Mr Ayres said.

“By showcasing our talented NSW Waratahs in Western Sydney, we will show our younger players the pathway to the top, right in their backyard.”

NSW Waratahs prop Shambeckler Vui, who was born in Bankstown, also welcomed the team’s commitment to play in Western Sydney.

“The Western Sydney area is special to me and to have the opportunity to play at a brand new stadium not far from where I was born is awesome.

“If our presence here can help more kids see what a great game rugby is and the chances you get through the sport, then I’ll be a happy man,” Vui said.

For a third season in a row, ticket prices for all home games will remain the same.

“It is important for us that the games are affordable for our supporters and hence the decision to not increase the ticket prices,” Hore said.

Additionally, all junior players who register with their club in 2019 will once again receive a NSW Waratahs season membership, which will give them free access to all home games next year. If every registered junior player in NSW takes up the offer, this equates to an investment of $1-million.

The three matches in 2019 are: 

Waratahs v Sharks

Waratahs v Jaguars 

Waratahs v Brumbies

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