'We've got limited availability': No Eden Park pain for Wallabies in 2023
SPOTLIGHT: After their latest Bledisloe Cup humiliation, the Wallabies can at least take heart that they won’t lose at Eden Park in 2023, with the ground off limits thanks to the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The Australians were rolled 14-40 in Auckland last Saturday – their 23rd straight loss to the All Blacks at the venue in 36 years.
Rugby Australia boss Andy Marinos said on Monday that the football tournament would force venue changes in both countries next year.
He said the Wallabies would only play two Rugby Championship matches in Australia in 2023 – one against Argentina and one against New Zealand, which doubles as a Bledisloe Cup Test.
The return Bledisloe could be played in Dunedin where the Wallabies at least cracked a win back in 2001, but definitely won’t be at Eden Park.
“We’ve got limited availability in Australia as well,” Marinos told reporters on Monday.
“We will play our Bledisloe at the MCG [Melbourne Cricket Ground] and we’re just working through the venues around NSW for the Argentinian Test.”
Meanwhile, Marinos said Rugby Australia was making “huge strides” towards a centralised program, following the lead of the Irish Rugby Football Union and New Zealand Rugby.
“We prefer to call it alignment … we’re busy working through a new contracting model that will create greater alignment between states and RA.
“The biggest thing with this alignment is working more closely with individual states to improve the high performance environment so we produce the players we all believe we need for the club and the national game.
“There’s a lot more collaboration and in a short time-frame an improvement in the performances.”
He said he didn’t expect Wallabies players would be forced to rest from Super Rugby games as part of their load management leading into next year’s Rugby World Cup in France.
Marinos said RA was continuing to work with Queensland to keep Taniela Tupou in Australian rugby and was confident the poster-boy prop wanted to stay.
“We’re talking directly with Taniela and his representatives about what his longer term future looks like,” he said.
“He’s certainly expressed a very strong interest and desire to commit to Australian rugby and those conversations are ongoing.”