Wallabies to play Argentina at Twickenham in Rugby Championship

Wallabies against Argentina in Mendoza. The two teams will play a Rugby Championship fixture at Twickenham this year.

Wallabies against Argentina in Mendoza. The two teams will play a Rugby Championship fixture at Twickenham this year.

Australia will play a Test against Argentina at Twickenham in a bid to cash in on the success of both countries at last year's World Cup.

The Pumas came of age at the tournament and won many admirers with an adventurous playing style that took them to the semi-finals, while the Wallabies exceeded most expectations to qualify for the final just 12 months after Michael Cheika was appointed to the coaching job.

A meeting in Australia last week agreed to a proposal by Argentina to move their Rugby Championships fixture against the Wallabies on October 8 to Twickenham, where it is expected to be a huge money spinner for the Argentina Rugby Union (UAR).

The venue change is also likely to suit the Wallabies as they play the Springboks at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on October 1 and there are no direct flights between South Africa and Argentina.

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The two hour time difference between Pretoria and London is also favourable compared to the five hours between South Africa and Argentina, and may help Australia's preparations for the third Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand on October 22.

While the Pumas are giving up a home Test to play in London, UAR president Carlos Araujo said the opportunity to host a game at Twickenham was too good to refuse.  

"Taking a home fixture to Twickenham and London is very important for the UAR and for Argentine rugby," Araujo said in a statement on the UAR website.

"For our team to play a home fixture at such an extraordinary stadium says everything about the standing of our side in the rugby world.

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"The Rugby Championship is without doubt one of the most important competitions in the world and to take one of the games to the Northern Hemisphere would allow us to be the home side in the country where our sport was born."

The Test at Twickenham will be the final match of the Rugby Championships, which begin on August 20 at ANZ Stadium with a re-match of the World Cup final between the Wallabies and All Blacks.

Australia travel to Wellington to play New Zealand again a week later before hosting South Africa at Suncorp Stadium on September 10 and Argentina at NIB Stadium in Perth on September 17th.

The Wallabies will also welcome England for a three-Test series earlier in the year and have a five-Test European tour scheduled at the end of the season.

Besides being a money-spinner for the Australian Rugby Union, the Wallabies will be hoping to create history by becoming the first Australian team to beat England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and France on the same tour.

The 1984 team, which beat the four home nations but did not play France, are the only Wallabies side to have completed the "Grand Slam".

The feat has been attempted another eight times, with the most recent occasion being in 2013 when the Wallabies lost to England before defeating Italy, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

 - smh.com.au


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