Wallabies head west before Bledisloe Cup
NEWS: Australia will have training camps in the regional centres of Newcastle and Cessnock before converging on Penrith in the lead-up to the opening Bledisloe Cup clash in Sydney on August 19.
Newcastle will play host to the Wallabies in the last week of July before the training camp moves to Cessnock Sportsground from August 6.
The Wallabies will then base themselves in Penrith during the week of the Bledisloe Cup clash, as Australia aim to wrest New Zealand’s 14-year stranglehold on the trophy.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said: "Country and regional rugby all around Australia is our heartland. The Wallaby support is very strong in these areas so Cessnock and Newcastle will be a great chance for us to feel that support before we take on New Zealand.
"I've already been up there a number of times - great facilities, great people and a great chance for us to share the gold jersey with the people of the region while we get ready for the mother of all matches in Sydney. It's going to be a great week.
"It's no secret that rugby hasn't made a strong home in the west of Sydney. It's weird because we have so many players in our professional teams who are born and bred in the area. We want to change that by taking the Wallaby jersey there for people to see a little more about who we are.
"We saw fans in western Sydney embrace rugby at the 2014 Super Rugby final with a record crowd at ANZ Stadium and we really want the western Sydney community with us, especially for our upcoming battle against New Zealand.
"I'm looking forward to the week and spending time with fans who follow the Wallabies, as well as making some new friends and fans in our time there," Cheika said.
Newcastle Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes said: "Newcastle City Council is proud to host the Wallabies' training camp at No.2 Sportsground, the home of rugby union in Newcastle. This will be a great opportunity for local rugby fans to turn out and meet their heroes and fire them up to take on the might of the All Blacks,"
Cessnock City Mayor, Councillor Bob Pynsent said: "It's fantastic the Wallabies have recognised the Cessnock Sportsground as a world class facility and it's another opportunity to show off our sports ground following the Asian Cup. We certainly are excited to welcome the players and coaches to our wonderful region,"