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Wallabies set for Adelaide Oval return

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Australia’s national rugby team will play in South Australia later this year for the first time since 2004, with Adelaide Oval a surprise inclusion in this year’s international Test calendar.

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Rugby Australia announced this morning the Wallabies and the Wallaroos will feature in a doubleheader at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday, August 27, as part of the 2022 eToro Rugby Championship and O’Reilly Cup.

The men will face off against South Africa while the women will play New Zealand. Times for the games are yet to be announced.

The occasion will mark Adelaide’s first international rugby Test since since July 3, 2004, when 19,296 people attended Adelaide Oval to watch Australia defeat the Pacific Islanders 29-14.

The Oval also played host to Australia’s historic 2003 Rugby World Cup triumph over Namibia in which the Wallabies won 142-0 in what remains the largest-ever victory in men’s Rugby World Cup history. More than 28,000 people attended the match.

Premier Peter Malinauskas said he was expecting around 30,000 to attend the August fixture.

“It’s the first time we’ve hosted the Wallabies in almost 20 years, which is great news for rugby fans in South Australia – but also a massive drawcard for visitors to our state who want to come to Adelaide and watch world-class international sport, right here at iconic Adelaide Oval,” he said in a statement today.

“We’re also thrilled to have the Wallaroos play here, in what is the only time both the mens’ and womens’ teams will feature on the same fixture at the same venue in Australia this year.

“These are the kinds of events that drive strong visitation – with more than 30,000 fans expected to attend, filling up our city bars and hotels, and giving the CBD a real energy during the winter months.”

Adelaide’s gain comes at the expense of traditional rugby powerhouse Queensland, which has missed out on a Test this season.

The Wallabies will travel to New South Wales the following week for a second Test against South Africa before kicking off the Bledisloe Cup a fortnight later with fixtures against New Zealand in Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium and Auckland’s Eden Park.

Rugby Australia’s decision to award Adelaide a Test comes as the governing body prepares its bid for the men’s 2027 Rugby World Cup. Adelaide Oval will be among the venues to feature as part of the bid.

Adelaide Oval is also set to play host to State of Origin rugby in 2023. The NRL successfully trialled the event in Adelaide in 2020 with a maximum COVID capacity crowd of 25,218 in attendance.

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