Wallabies break with tradition as Michael Cheika announces pre-Bledisloe Cup trial match

Sport360 staff 00:30 31/07/2018
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Wallabies coach Michael Cheika (centre) talks to assistant coach Stephen Larkham (r) and Bernard Foley.

The Wallabies squad will square off mate-against-mate on Friday at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney, as preparations ramp up ahead of the Bledisloe Cup opener.

The full-contact trial will be a break from recent tradition for the Wallabies with the competition heating up for a berth in Michael Cheika’s side for the clash against New Zealand at ANZ Stadium on Saturday August 18.

The All Blacks have regularly played trial matches before their June Test series but this is a first for Cheika’s side.

Leichhardt Oval will open its gates for a family friendly kick-off time of 6.45pm (12:45 UAE time) Friday night with free entry for all.

A gold coin donation for the Australian Rugby Foundation is encouraged with all proceeds going to grassroots rugby.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said: “We were keen to have more Super Rugby teams playing for longer, obviously, and if we look at the last two years we just want to keep the intensity of footy up.

“Spending five weeks on the sideline before a Bledisloe Test match is not what we want ideally. We want guys to play footy.

“It’s not just about the contact, because you can get all that in training. But just the little things.

“The pressure in front of a crowd, the referee telling you what to do, the dressing room build up, all those things. The mental side of footy,” Cheika said.

Cheika and his Wallabies staff will name a side to take on a Australian Super Rugby Selection that will be coached by Australian Women’s Sevens coach John Manenti and assisted by Australian Men’s coach Tim Walsh and Melbourne Rebels assistant Kevin Foote.

The trial will not incorporate the use of a Television Match Official (TMO) with Rugby Australia still contemplating other rule initiatives.

The Friday night clash will also be live and free to Wallabies fans around the world, with the game to be streamed on rugby.com.au as well as the XPLORER App.

The hill at Leichhardt Oval will be the go-to vantage point for kids with plenty of activities and entertainment, while there will be the opportunity following full-time to snap a selfie with the Wallabies.

Currently, squad members of the NSW Waratahs will not be considered for selection.

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