THE Wallabies will use the Gold Coast as their base for Test matches against South Africa and Argentina in September.
This announcement comes as Sports Gold Coast works closely with local and national rugby union officials to reinvigorate the code in this region.
“The Wallabies will be training out of the Gold Coast for two weeks leading into their Test matches against South Africa at Suncorp on September 8 and against Argentina at our own Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday, September 15,” said Sports Gold Coast Chairman Geoff Smith.
“This is great news for all rugby fans on the Gold Coast and perfect timing as Sports Gold Coast is involved in a number of exciting initiatives to secure and boost rugby union locally.”
One of the first initiatives is to start a campaign to ‘Sell out Cbus’ for the Test against Argentina.
“It is imperative that we show that the Gold Coast is a rugby heartland,” says Smith. “The best way to do that is to pack out Cbus Super Stadium when the Wallabies are here in September.
“This will not only prove to the rest of Australia that we are a rugby city, but it will go a long way to ensure more international rugby union games for the Gold Coast in the future.”
Planning to ‘Sell out Cbus’ starts on Thursday when Sports Gold Coast hosts a meeting that will include representatives from the Australian Rugby Union, local rugby officials and media outlets.
“We want the Gold Coast to know what a great opportunity the Wallabies v Pumas Test will be,” says Smith.
“We need to market this game and get momentum rolling. As we all know the Gold Coast is spoilt for choice when it comes to how we spend our leisure time. There is so much to do here.
“However we need to grasp this opportunity because the pay-off can come in so many ways. Not only will it put the focus on rugby locally and help the grassroots of the code, but hopefully it will attract more international fixtures to the Gold Coast.
“It was such a shame that we lost the rights to host the spectacular international rugby sevens tournament and an aim of the recently formed local rugby union working committee is to win this tournament back.”
Sports Gold Coast and local rugby recently formed an alliance that will hopefully result in rugby union kicking some major local goals.
“The primary aim of Sports Gold Coast is to bring entities such as business, government and community together to assist local sport at all levels,” says Smith. “Rugby has deep roots on the Gold Coast and right now faces some challenges as well as great opportunities.
“Sports Gold Coast will work with the sport to ensure that it is able to take advantage of those opportunities.
“We are not only talking about the September Test, but also women’s rugby, especially sevens, promoting the Gold Coast as a fulltime base for national rugby squads and of course lifting the profile of all local rugby competitions and teams.”
Wallaby team manager, and former Gold Coast journalist, Pat Molihan, said the national squad was looking forward to the Gold Coast camp in September.
“We know what the Gold Coast has to offer. It is the perfect environment to prepare for what will be two crucial Test matches for us,” he said
“We will primarily be training out of Sanctuary Cove and Bond University leading into those two games. The facilities on offer to us are excellent and that is why we have chosen to come back to the Gold Coast.
“In the past there has been fantastic support for the Wallabies on the Gold Coast, so of course we hope that there will be lots of interest in the Test against Argentina.”
Sports Gold Coast is a not-for-profit organisation whose primary goal is to connect the Gold Coast through sport.
Its major projects to date include the successful formation of the Gold Coast United soccer club, the elevation of the Gold Coast Sports Star of the Year awards into a gala black tie function, playing a crucial role in bringing Big Bash cricket to the Gold Coast in the 2018-19 season, assisting Bond University in its national women’s sevens rugby campaign and positioning the Gold Coast as a major player in the eSports environment.