Wallabies, Wallaroos fixtures CONFIRMED as Schmidt eyes ‘fantastic turnaround challenge’ against RWC rivals
The Wallabies will open their 2024 international season against their long-time World Cup rivals Wales, with new coach Joe Schmidt viewing the Test as a “fantastic turnaround challenge” following last year’s embarrassing showing in France.
The national side’s 40-6 capitulation in front of a bumper crowd in Lyon essentially sealed their World Cup fate, as the Wallabies failed to progress out of the pool stage for the first time.
The heavy defeat also put the wheels in motion for significant change, with a shake-up seeing Eddie Jones resign and Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan eventually ousted following the Wallabies’ World Cup flop.
Schmidt, the former Ireland coach and All Blacks assistant, was unveiled as Jones’ replacement at Allianz Stadium in late January and the venue is where he will kick start his coaching career with the Wallabies against Wales on July 6.
The New Zealander late last month said he wasn’t expecting miracles from the outset, but was excited about taking on Warren Gatland’s side.
“I’m also realistic, I know how competitive the top of the Test match tree is,” Schmidt said on Wide World of Sports radio in Brisbane.
“You get Wales first-up, who put 40 points on the Wallabies. Well, what a fantastic turnaround challenge that is.
“Looking through the lens with a different perspective, I’m just looking at the individuals and thinking about how we can keep building them forward.
“And then some of the connections, I just felt didn’t quite work and [we’ll] try and put those together.
“But, as I said, it’s five trainings that you get before that Welsh Test.
“I’m not expecting miracles, but I definitely believe we can get a shift and we can keep that shift going in the right direction and build a competitive group.”
While venue times are to be confirmed, with afternoon rugby a possibility for the mid-year Tests, Rugby Australia on Friday afternoon confirmed their home international fixtures for the season, with Sydney the big winner.
The city will host four Wallabies Tests throughout the year, including a historic home fixture against Georgia on July 20, as well as two Wallaroos internationals. The Wallabies’ 35-15 first-up win over Georgia last year at the World Cup was one of two Tests Jones’ side won in 2023.
The second Welsh fixture will be played at Melbourne’s AAMI Park on July 13.
The Wallabies will then host South Africa in their opening two Rugby Championship fixtures, with the world champions to play Schmidt’s men on August 10 at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium before tackling them over at Perth’s Optus Stadium on August 17.
The men in gold will round out their home fixtures against the All Blacks at Sydney’s Accor Stadium on September 21, which follows two Tests against Los Pumas in Argentina.
The Wallaroos, meanwhile, will kick-start their campaign against Canada on May 11 at Allianz Stadium, before taking on the United States a week later at AAMI Park on May 17.
Jo Yapp’s Wallaroos will also play Fiji as part of a double header with their male counterparts on July 6 in Sydney, before taking on New Zealand’s Black Ferns on July 14 at Ballymore in Brisbane.
“We’re thrilled to announce a massive international season next year for the Wallaroos and the Wallabies on home soil with 10 Tests in total across the two teams,” Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh said.
“It’s particularly pleasing to know we are going to host Test matches in the four largest cities in Australia as we continue to invest in making the game more accessible to more Australians.
“We’re continuing to honour our commitment to grow the women’s game, with the Wallaroos set to play their highest number of Tests on home soil in a calendar year in 2024 against world-class oppositions at first-class stadiums.
“The Wallabies will be looking for a reset this year, with Joe Schmidt to lead them against four high-quality Test opponents on home soil, including Georgia who we look forward to welcoming to Australia for the first time.
“To be able to host a double header in Sydney with both teams at Allianz Stadium will be a highlight on the Australian sporting calendar in 2024, while having the World Champion Springboks play two Tests here is a massive win for all rugby supporters and sports fans in Australia.”
Wallaroos 2024 Home Fixtures
Wallaroos v Canada, Saturday May 11 at Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Wallaroos v USA, Friday May 17 at AAMI Park, Melbourne
Wallaroos v Fiji, Saturday July 6 at Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Wallaroos v New Zealand, Sunday July 14, Ballymore, Brisbane
Wallabies 2024 Home Tests
Wallabies v Wales, Saturday July 6 at Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Wallabies v Wales, Saturday July 13 at AAMI Park, Melbourne
Wallabies v Georgia, Saturday July 20 at Allianz Stadium, Sydney
The Rugby Championship/Bledisloe Cup
Wallabies v South Africa, Saturday August 10 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Wallabies v South Africa, Saturday August 17 at Optus Stadium, Perth
Wallabies v New Zealand, Saturday September 21 at Accor Stadium, Sydney