Test matches in Mel­bourne

Benalla Ensign - - Sport -

A new fund­ing com­mit­ment from the An­drews La­bor Gov­ern­ment will see six major Wal­la­bies rugby union test matches held in Mel­bourne dur­ing the next eight years.

The Aus­tralian national team will face foes such as Ire­land, the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions, and the All Blacks in the Bledis­loe Cup, in Mel­bourne.

The gov­ern­ment deal will bring more tests to Mel­bourne and grow the game at grass­roots level right across the state.

Sport, Tourism and Major Events Min­is­ter John Eren joined the Vic­to­rian Rugby Union and the Mel­bourne Rebels at Foun­tain Gate Sec­ondary Col­lege Rugby Acad­emy last week to an­nounce a $500 000 up­grade to one of its rugby pitches.

With more than 100 stu­dents in Foun­tain Gate’s Rugby Acad­emy pro­gram, this up­grade will help cater for growth and de­liver the play­ing and train­ing fa­cil­i­ties our tal­ented ath­letes need to be­come Vic­to­ria’s next rugby great.

The an­nounce­ment builds on the gov­ern­ment’s $200 000 com­mit­ment to up­grade the acad­emy’s strength and con­di­tion­ing room.

In an­other win for lo­cal union fans, Mel­bourne is set to kick off its six major Wal­la­bies Test Matches over eight years with a match against Ire­land next year.

Vic­to­ria has also se­cured the cov­eted Bledis­loe Cup against world cham­pi­ons the All Blacks in 2020, and the tour­ing Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions in 2025.

This part­ner­ship will en­sure rugby con­tin­ues to grow at all lev­els in Vic­to­ria, in­spir­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of home­grown Rebels, Wal­la­bies and Wal­la­roos.

This pack­age delivers the best ac­tion for fans, pro­vides a mas­sive boost to tourism and jobs, and reaf­firms Vic­to­ria’s sta­tus as the sport­ing and major events cap­i­tal of Aus­tralia, Mr Eren said.

‘‘It’s a great time for rugby union in Vic­to­ria — the Rebels are here to stay and the Wal­la­bies will play against the very best on the world stage right here in the sport­ing cap­i­tal,’’ Mr Eren said.

Vic­to­rian Rugby Union pres­i­dent Tim North said the code’s fu­ture in this state had been ‘‘bol­stered’’ thanks to the gov­ern­ment’s in­vest­ment.

‘‘From lock­ing down so many fan­tas­tic Wal­la­bies games and se­cur­ing the fu­ture of the Rebels, to sup­port­ing the fu­ture de­vel­op­ment of our young play­ers, Vic­to­ria con­tin­ues to be the sport­ing cap­i­tal of Aus­tralia.’’

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