Haven't heard as yet where the other Home fixture will be held against Samoa but, if we don't get it then, it would be great to see it go to the likes of Canberra, Adelaide or Darwin to spread the code around from the traditional Test Venues.

International Rugby returns to Townsville in 2007

January 11, 2007 - 2:26pm
Story by: ARU

International rugby will make its return to Townsville for the first time since the 2003 Rugby World Cup when Australia A hosts a Pacific Nations Cup tie at Dairy Farmers Stadium in June.

The Australia A team, which last year featured more than a dozen Qantas Wallabies, will host Japan in a Round 3 Pacific Nations Cup clash on Saturday 9 June.

Australia A joins Samoa, the Junior All Blacks (New Zealand 'A'), Japan, Tonga and Fiji for the inaugural Pacific Nations Cup this year, which will be contested over five rounds during the months of May and June.

Townsville's 26,500 capacity stadium will get its first taste of international rugby since Japan played Fiji in a Pool B clash at the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

This is tremendous news for Townsville and great news for the many thousands of rugby supporters that live in the area,” said Townsville Mayor Tony Mooney.

“Our 2003 Rugby World Cup matches were an enormous success and following that we were able to host the first Australian Super 14 match outside of a capital city last year.

We are very pleased to announce that international rugby will return to Dairy Farmers this winter.”

Qantas Wallabies Coach John Connolly, who was on hand at today's announcement at Dairy Farmers Stadium, said that Townsville is an important growth area for Australian Rugby.

“The support for rugby in North Queensland is huge, which has been evidenced by the strong crowds they've attracted here for the World Cup matches and the Super 14 match last year,” said Connolly.

“It's extremely important that rugby continues to grow its presence in the area,” he added.

Connolly predicted strong support from the locals for the first major international rugby match to hit North Queensland in four years.

“Townsville is a sporting-mad city and I'm sure that people will travel from far and wide to watch a high quality international match in what will be a very competitive tournament,” he said.

Connolly said that many of the Australia A combatants will be trying to play their way into a Wallaby jersey for the Rugby World Cup in France in September.

“We will be watching all of the Australia A players very closely throughout the Pacific Nations Cup,” said Connolly.

“We will select our final squad for the World Cup in early August so these matches will be of considerable significance in terms of World Cup selections,” he said.

Mayor of Thuringowa City Les Tyrell expected Japan to receive a strong reception in Townsville after the success of their 2003 Rugby World campaign at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

“Japan played three matches at Dairy Farmers during the Rugby World Cup and were adopted by the twin cities as our team during the tournament,” said Tyrell.

“The support for the Japanese in North Queensland during the Rugby World Cup was extraordinary and although they are playing Australia A on this occasion, I'm sure they will receive a very warm reception from the rugby supporters of the region who will have fond memories of their last visit to the region.”

Match details:

2007 Pacific Nations Cup, Round 3

Saturday 9 June

Australia A vJapan

Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville

Kick off: TBC