Rugby Australia has opted to take one of the Bledisloe Cup Tests against New Zealand to Perth’s Optus Stadium for a double-header featuring both the men’s and women’s national teams.
The Wallabies and Wallaroos will face their New Zealand counterparts at the 65,000-capacity venue on August 10 next year. The new facility only opened in December last year.
The Optus Stadium matches will mark the first time that Bledisloe Cup Tests will be staged in Western Australia.
This year, Rugby Australia introduced the double-header format for the first time at ANZ Stadium in Sydney and the move to Perth will seek to build on its initial success.
Raelene Castle, chief executive of Rugby Australia, said: “We are really proud to announce that the Buildcorp Wallaroos and Black Ferns will play again in 2019 after two great Test matches this year in Sydney and Auckland.
“There is now double the incentive for fans to get out to what will be a memorable rugby event at Optus Stadium with the Bledisloe Cup heading to Perth for the first time, and the first ever women’s Test match in the west.
“I know many fans from across Australia and New Zealand will want to travel for this historic occasion, to experience outstanding rugby and everything that Western Australia has to offer.”
Traditionally a two-Test series, the Bledisloe Cup has evolved into a three-match event in recent years. This year, games took place in Sydney and Auckland, with a third Test scheduled for October 27 in Yokohama, Japan.
Dwayne Nestor, head coach of the Wallaroos women’s team, also backed the move to Perth: “As a Western Australian myself I know personally how strong the women’s game is in the west and this is only going to help to inspire a whole new generation of female rugby players in WA.
“Our team is building on the mantra of ‘influencing a generation’ and we are proud of the steps we have taken with the program in 2018 but there is still a number of targets we want to hit.”