Test veteran James Slipper will mark his return to rugby against some familiar faces while Melbourne Rebels skipper Tom English will lead again on Friday night, in what’s set to be a Bledisloe Cup tune-up.
Four capped Wallabies (Slipper, Blake Enever, Matt Philip and Richard Hardwick) will line-up against Michael Cheika’s side while several have featured in national squads over the last two seasons.
Flyhalf Andrew Deegan and flanker Tevin Ferris will represent the Western Force at Leichhardt Oval, with the game free to attend at the family friendly kick-off time of 18:45 (12:45 UAE time).
Head Coach John Manenti said: “We’ll have some fun this week but make no mistake, we will prepare as best we can to give Cheik’s side a real shake on Friday night.
“I know how important this game could prove to be ahead of the Bledisloe Cup so we need to play with real accuracy and plenty of intensity straight from the kickoff.
“I have to thank the Super Rugby coaches and Club Rugby coaches across Australia for being so accommodating in letting us borrow their players for what’s set to be a special night in Sydney.
“James’ (Slipper) enthusiasm has really impressed me since we invited him to join. He’s keen to be back out there and training hard but also really wants to get his old Wallabies teammates firing ahead of that first Bledisloe. That just shows the character of the bloke,” Manenti said.
Friday night’s clash will be live to Wallabies fans around the world, with the game to be streamed on rugby.com.au.
Michael Cheika’s side for the clash will be named later this week.
Australian Super Rugby Selection vs Wallabies
Leichhardt Oval, Friday August 3, 12:45 (UAE time)
(Streaming live on rugby.com.au)
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.
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.”
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.