Wallabies v France opener gets new venue
NEWS: Rugby Australia has confirmed the first Test of the 2021 series against France will have a new venue.
The opening match between the Wallabies and France was originally scheduled to be played in Sydney on Wednesday, July 7.
The updated fixture will now take place in Brisbane.
The decision was made following the most recent developments in Sydney, with the NSW government extending COVID-19 restrictions until July 9.
Rugby Australia has also made the difficult decision to postpone next month’s Wallaroos versus Samoa series, following border restrictions.
“Rugby Australia is committed to finding an alternate window later this year to complete the two-Test series,” a statement said.
“It’s never an easy decision to move a fixture,” Rugby AU CEO Andy Marinos said.
“One thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is that we have to be able to pivot quickly.
“Following the announcement yesterday [Saturday], we were faced with yet another challenge and we knew we had to respond swiftly.
“We were all excited for the Wallabies to return to the Sydney Cricket Ground for the first time in 35 years and have enjoyed great support and cooperation from Destination New South Wales, the New South Wales Government and the Sydney Cricket Ground in assisting us with safe quarantine of the French team, as well as the planning and preparation for the Test match.
“We’re obviously disappointed for Wallabies fans in New South Wales who will miss the opportunity for a home Test in this French Series, but we are excited that Test matches will be returning during the Rugby Championship later this year.
“We will continue to work with the respective health authorities around Australia to ensure all events are safely delivered for fans, players and officials.
“I am equally disappointed for our Wallaroos squad following the postponement of their series.
“It’s been a really challenging year for them with the postponement of the World Cup to 2022 and now this delay, before we can finally see them finally taking the field in the coming months. We are now busy seeking an appropriate window for the Tests to take place.
“I want to thank Grace Hamilton and the rest of the Wallaroos team, our sponsors and broadcasters for their understanding as well as Manusina Samoa, who were due to assemble next week.
“I would also like to acknowledge both France and the Wallabies for their understanding, and their positive attitude in these challenging circumstances. In speaking with both teams, they share our excitement and can’t wait to get out and play on the pitch,” Marinos added.
The second Test in the series against France in Melbourne – on Tuesday, July 13 – is scheduled to continue as planned.
Following confirmation of the opening Test in Brisbane on 7 July, Rugby Australia confirmed the Sydney Cricket Ground will host South Africa on Sunday, September 12 in Rugby Championship.
Australia versus France fixtures
Wednesday, July 7, 20.00 AEST, Brisbane
Tuesday, July 13, 20.00 AEST, Melbourne
Saturday, July 17, 20.00, Brisbane