Rugby: Wallabies’ pre-World Cup schedule confirmed with MCG clash

Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has hailed Australia’s “perfect preparation” for September’s Rugby World Cup following the confirmation of two Tests with New Zealand and games against South Africa and Argentina.

The Wallabies will play four Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup matches in July and August with hopes for 100,000 to pack the MCG for a showdown with the All Blacks.

“The Rugby Championship is one of the toughest competitions in the world and to play against high-quality sides in South Africa, New Zealand and Argentina in a World Cup year is perfect preparation for our team,” Jones said.

“To be able to play in Sydney against the Pumas is going to be a great hitout and then you’ve got the MCG, which is one of the most iconic stadiums in the world with 100,000 Wallabies supporters there cheering us on.

“There’s plenty to be done between now and then, but I can’t wait to bring the team together and get to work.”

The schedule of internationals is shotended in 2023 because it’s a World Cup year.

The Wallabies will meet South Africa on July 8 in Pretoria before flying home to take on Argentina a week later at Sydney’s CommBank Stadium.

The Australians will then play back-to-back matches against the All Blacks on July 29 (MCG) and August 5 (Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin).

Rugby Australia chief executive officer Andy Marinos said with Jones again coaching the Wallabies, “expectations will be high throughout the international series”.

“With the Rugby World Cup less than nine months away, I know the team will be wanting to get hold of some silverware before then and these matches will provide the perfect platform for this,” Marinos said.

Melbourne rugby fans have flocked to Wallabies matches with last year’s encounter drawing a capacity crowd of 53,245 at Marvel Stadium.

Previous clashes with the All Blacks at the MCG have drawn crowds of 90,119 in 1997 and 75,127 in 1998.

Melbourne and Sydney could be vying for hosting rights for the final of the 2027 World Cup which will be played in Australia.

Wallabies schedule: v South Africa, time TBC, Saturday, July 8m Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria; v Argentina, 7.45pm AEST, Saturday July 15, CommBank Stadium, Sydney; v New Zealand, 7.45pm AEST, Saturday July 29 at MCG; v New Zealand, 12.35pm AEST, Saturday August 5, at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin.

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