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Test Overdue

Playing an international rugby test in Fiji is long overdue for the Wallabies, a top Australian official says. Australian Rugby Union chief executive officer Bill Pulver said playing a Wallabies
16 Oct 2016 11:53
Test Overdue
Vodafone Flying Fijians head coach John McKee and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, who is also the president of the Fiji Rugby Union celebrate, after the announcement of the historic National Rugby Championship deal in Sydney on Friday.

Playing an international rugby test in Fiji is long overdue for the Wallabies, a top Australian official says.

Australian Rugby Union chief executive officer Bill Pulver said playing a Wallabies Test in Fiji was a debt Australia owes the Pacific Islands nation.

The first test between the two countries was in 1952 in Sydney and the last time the Wallabies played in Suva was in 1994.

Since then the Wallabies have had Fijian-born players in their Test side and Pulver said the country had plenty to thank their neighbours for.

New Zealand took a Test to Samoa in recent years, a move that paid off spectacularly, and Pulver said scheduling would be the only barrier for the Wallabies going to Fiji.

“We would love to take a Wallaby Test to Fiji,” Pulver told the Australian Rugby website.

“Frankly, that’s a debt that we owe to Fiji, which is crystal clear in my mind.

“The great challenge is the international match calendar. We, this year, will have our Wallabies play 15 Test matches and we quite simply can’t squeeze any more juice out of that orange.

“So, we need to look long-term at the opportunity to do that…We’ve just got to find a way to do that in the international calendar to fit it in.”

Fiji and Australia were in the ‘pool of death’ during the 2015 Rugby World Cup and will meet up again in June next year.

Australia and Fiji have played each other a total of 20 times of which Australia has won the most at 16. Fiji won two of the first four matches between the sides but have not beaten Australia since then.

But the historic deal signed on Friday in which a Fiji team will play in the 2017 National Rugby Championships in Australia will help in growing rugby ties between the two countries.



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