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

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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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All Blacks to face Wallabies in Bledisloe Cup match in Perth

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Wallaby Dane Haylett-Petty and Classic All Black Keven Mealamu with the Bledisloe Cup in Perth.

Rugby Australia have today confirmed the date for the first-ever Bledisloe Cup Test in Perth, with Optus Stadium to host the Wallabies against the All Blacks on August 10, 2019.

The fixture will be the only Bledisloe Cup Test played in Australia next year and one of the Wallabies last games before departing for the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Young boys and girls in Western Australia will also be able to take the field in the Part of More March, where they represent their club or school with pride around the sideline prior to kick off.

Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle said: “We’re looking forward to next year’s Test at Optus Stadium. It’s proven itself to be one of the best venues in the world to watch sport and that’s a credit to the West Australian Government.

“Through Tourism Western Australia, the WA Government have already put on some terrific major events that have showcased Perth to the globe and we’re proud that we can add to that on August 10 next year.

“This isn’t just any Test match, this is one of the most important games that the Wallabies will play next year.

“Not just because it’s against our traditional rivals, the All Blacks, but also because it’s one of the last chances to prepare before the Rugby World Cup kicks-off in Japan the following month.”

Dane Haylett-Petty with the Bledisloe Cup - probably the closest a Wallaby will get to the famous trophy this year.

Dane Haylett-Petty with the Bledisloe Cup – probably the closest a Wallaby will get to the famous trophy this year.

WA Minister for Tourism: Racing and Gaming Paul Papalia said: “It is a great coup for Western Australia to host this spectacular sporting event at Optus Stadium.

“It will be the only time the All Blacks and the Wallabies play on Australian soil next year in the lead up to the Rugby World Cup, and we expect thousands of people to travel to Perth from the eastern states and overseas for the game.

“The match will be broadcast across Australia and internationally, providing a great platform to show off the new face of Perth – the Western gateway to Australia – to the millions of rugby fans who will be tuning in to the game.

“Attracting and supporting events such as this one is a crucial part of our Two-Year Action Plan to grow WA’s tourism industry.”

WA Minister for Sport Mick Murray said: “The match between the Wallabies and All Blacks will be one of the biggest sporting events Perth has ever experienced.

“It will give WA’s many loyal rugby fans a unique opportunity to watch this sporting spectacle up close, while also attracting enthusiasts from across Australia and the world.

“The new Optus Stadium has allowed Perth to host this exciting match and I have no doubt tickets will be snapped up quickly.”

This will be the first All Blacks Test match in Perth with West Australia having hosted 15 Wallabies Tests in total, including a thrilling 23-all draw with South Africa at nib Stadium last year.

The Springboks have featured in eight of the 15 Tests played in Perth, with Ireland, Argentina, Fiji and England making up the Wallabies’ opponents in the other seven matches played in Western Australia to date.

The clash on August 10 will also be the first-ever Rugby game at the new Optus Stadium, which has quickly established itself as one of the world’s premier sporting and entertainment venues.

Fans will be able to watch the historic Trans-Tasman rivalry in the state-of-the-art Optus Stadium for under AUD$50 (Dh135) with Family Tickets from AUD$197 (Dh535).

Tickets will go on pre-sale on Wednesday October 17 with the Public on sale confirmed for Monday October 26.

Fans can register here to get in early for the historic clash between the two nations by signing up here.

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England's Rugby Football Union launches trial to lower tackle height

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The RFU is hoping to stamp out high tackles

A Rugby Football Union-led tackle trial next season has been described as “critical” in terms of developing approaches to concussion and injury reduction.

The trial will take place in the 43-match Championship Cup competition – English Rugby’s second tier – and represents a major player safety initiative.

Details announced by the RFU see the definition of a high tackle lowered from above the line of the shoulders to above the armpit line.

RFU professional Rugby director Nigel Melville said: “The Championship Cup provides an opportunity for us to assess the impact of lowering the height of the tackle on the elite adult game, and will be a critical part of helping us develop game-wide approaches to concussion and injury reduction.”

The move has been made in collaboration with World Rugby and will see an amendment to law 9.13 operating in the cup competition, which starts on November 10.

In a statement, the RFU said: “The trial aims to assess the impact of introducing a lower tackle height in elite adult Rugby on the incidence of concussion and other injuries, player behaviour in the tackle, the nature of tackles, head injury events and other game events.

“This important player welfare initiative will include all 43 games in the pool stages and play-off rounds of the competition.

“A detailed analysis of this trial will be compared to existing data from the English professional game to help inform any wider approach.

“All data will be shared with World Rugby to be added to research collected from a similar trial in the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy competition.”

The RFU’s latest professional Rugby injury surveillance report showed that 47 per cent of all match injuries are associated with the tackle.

Additionally, concussion accounted for 19 per cent of all injuries to the ball-carrier and 43 per cent of all injuries to the tackler.

And Melville added: “We believe lowering the height of the tackle will benefit both the ball-carrier and the tackler.”

An initial meeting will take place early next month for Rugby directors, coaches and senior player representatives from all Championship clubs, as well as referees and assistant referees, to ensure sufficient preparation time ahead of the competition.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “World Rugby applauds the RFU and the Championship Cup clubs for embracing this important trial.

“The global game is committed to an evidence-based approach to injury prevention.

“And the outcomes from this trial, coupled with those from the World Rugby Under-20 Championship and Under-2020 Trophy events, will provide World Rugby with comprehensive data and feedback to inform our continued commitment to further reducing concussion risk in Rugby.”

Teams involved in the trial on the cup’s opening weekend are Doncaster Knights, Coventry, Yorkshire Carnegie, Nottingham, Ealing, Jersey, London Scottish, Richmond, Cornish Pirates, Bedford Blues, Hartpury College and London Irish.

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