Bledisloe Cup Festival: Wallabies Fever hits Sydney

14 August 2012

One of rugby’s most storied rivalries began in 1903 with the first Rugby Union Test match between Australia and New Zealand.  New Zealand beat Australia with a score of 22-3 at the Sydney Cricket Ground that year but over the next 109 years, the teams would meet nearly 167 times.

First contested in 1932, the Bledisloe Cup was named after the Governor General of New Zealand, who donated the original trophy in hopes of fostering a sporting community between the two nations. This year, the All Blacks return to Sydney to face off with the Qantas Wallabies for the prestigious trophy on Saturday, 18 August. To mark the iconic game at ANZ Stadium, Sydney is coming alive with events that celebrate the rivalry between the two nations.

Many Rugby Union players spent tours overseas during WWII

Already this month we’ve seen photo competitions, a Day at the Races at Warwick Farm and a Qantas Wallabies Fan Day at Darling Harbour as part of the Bledisloe Cup Festival  — but we’re just warming up for more chances to meet the team in the week leading up to  the match.

New Zealand and Australia might have been competitors on the pitch but during World War II, they were brothers in arms. The current Bledisloe Cup exhibit at the Museum of Sydney (3 – 19 August) explores this dynamic relationship with a collection of mementos from both teams during the few years before Britain’s entry into WWII. As many players were sent off to war, the photos, jerseys and personal tales on display remember the contribution both teams made whilst fighting overseas.

After growing to a symbol of trans-Tasman Rugby in the years after the war, the 9kg silver trophy will also be touring various locations around Sydney in the week leading up to the match. Check the trophy’s touring schedule and see how you can get a photo with it. During the Festival, Wallabies players will be making appearances alongside the Bledisloe Cup at “Qantas Wallabies Towns” at select Westfield shopping centres.

Wrapping up the celebrations before the Test, All Blacks and Wallabies players will take rugby to the golf course in the inaugural Classics showdown at Oatlands on Friday, 17 August. Former Wallabies captains George Gregan and Andrew Slack will lead ten classic Wallabies into battle on the course against an All Blacks line-up including Justin Marshall and Wayne Shelford.

Wallabies vs All BlacksAll events culminate to the 8pm kickoff of the 2012 Bledisloe Cup on 18 August at ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park. Be bold, wear gold and get along to the Test. Learn more about the Bledisloe Cup Festival and how you can be at the game by visiting sydney.com.