Six nations champion to play Qantas Wallabies in Brisbane

The heroes that led Ireland to its first Grand Slam title in 61 years will be heading to Brisbane next June for a one-off Test with the Qantas Wallabies.

Ireland clinched this year's Six Nations Championship and its first unbeaten run in the best-of-Europe tournament since 1948 when downing England, France, Scotland, Italy, and finally Wales in a campaign that won the team new-found popularity.

More than 18,000 fans turned out to welcome home the Irish players after their last round victory at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

The Ireland Test at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, 26 June, was announced today by the Australian Rugby Union as part of the 2010 Bundaberg Rum Rugby Series inbound program.

The Bundaberg Rum Tri Nations draw will also be unveiled before the end of the month. However, ARU has confirmed today that one of the two Bledisloe Cup Tests in Australia next year will be played in Melbourne.

The June schedule involves a season-opener against Fiji in Canberra on Saturday, 5 June, followed by a two-Test showdown with England in Perth on Saturday, 12 June, and Sydney on Saturday, 19 June.

Completing the Bundaberg Rum Rugby Series inbound tour program, to be played over four successive weekends, will be the Test against Ireland, now the premier team in Europe.

"It is an exciting schedule, a challenging program, before the Qantas Wallabies head into the Bundaberg Rum Tri Nations," said Mr O'Neill.

"Ireland won the Grand Slam earlier this year under their inspirational captain Brian O'Driscoll.

"It will be great to have them back on our shores."

Queensland Minister for Sport Phil Reeves said it was fitting that Europe's finest team will play at Suncorp Stadium. It was, he said, a venue nominated by various players and officials alike as the best for Rugby Union in Australia.

"This will be the first time the Irish have played at Suncorp Stadium since its redevelopment and I'm certain a large crowd will be on hand to welcome them to Fortress Wallaby," Mr Reeves added.

"The Wallabies have had incredible success at Suncorp Stadium having won nine out of eleven fixtures with average crowds in excess of 45,000 per match.

"Again it reaffirms the State Government's decision to upgrade the Stadium to a world-class, multi-purpose venue for the benefit of all Queenslanders."

Mr O'Neill said the inbound tour program provided a feast of high-standard matches for fans around the country.

"England finished second on the Six Nations ladder this year and had a comprehensive win over France during the tournament," he said.

"So the quality of competition awaiting the Qantas Wallabies in 2010 is not to be under estimated.

"We should also have a reasonable gauge of where we stand against Ireland and England when the Qantas Wallabies play both those countries during their Grand Slam tour in November.

"It will be the first Grand Slam attempt since the 1984 side marched unbeaten through the UK and Ireland in the four Tests they played.

"Fittingly, this Grand Slam tour will come on the 25th anniversary of that magnificent achievement."

Brisbane will also host a Bundaberg Rum Tri Nations Test in 2010 providing the city with a two-Test schedule.

The Tri Nations match to be played at Suncorp Stadium will be announced before the end of the month.


Saturday, 5 June Qantas Wallabies v Fiji Canberra Stadium
Saturday, 12 June Qantas Wallabies v England Subiaco Oval, Perth
Saturday, 19 June Qantas Wallabies v England ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Saturday, 26 June Qantas Wallabies v Ireland Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane