THE NSW Waratahs have confirmed their first two fixture locations for Vodafone Super Rugby AU – with a return to Stadium Australia against arch-rivals the Brumbies locked in for Saturday 18 July.
Rob Penney’s side will host the Western Force at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Saturday 11 July, before taking on the Brumbies at the Stadium that hosted their famous 2014 Super Rugby Championship victory.
NSW Rugby is still awaiting confirmation on the location of their final two home fixtures against the Reds (Saturday 8 August) and the Rebels (Saturday 29 August).
It’s expected these will be confirmed in early-July as conversations between NSW Rugby, the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust and Venues NSW continue.
The Waratahs v Brumbies blockbuster will be the first sporting event staged at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium since the COVID-19 lockdown, but the Waratahs will be returning to familiar surrounds.
The Tahs’ pulsating 33-32 win over the Crusaders in 2014 to claim their first ever Super Rugby title win was played in front of an all-time record Super Rugby attendance of 61,823.
The crowd watching on at the Waratahs v Brumbies game will pale by comparison as NSW Public Health Orders result in a gradual build-up in attendance numbers at sporting events. Current Public Health Orders would allow for an attendance of up to 10,000 spectators, however this number is subject to change in accordance with existing orders.
NSW Rugby CEO Paul Doorn said the organisation was working to secure the final locations for their Super Rugby AU home games.
“We’re of course still operating without a permanent home ground while we await the construction of the new Sydney Football Stadium, but during this period many teams have been displaced or playing in unfamiliar surrounds,” Doorn said.
“We’ve got a great relationship with the SCG Trust and understand that both they and Venues NSW are working within a very congested sporting market at present.
“We’re all facing challenges as we look to see professional sport return post-COVID and scheduling is one of them; we’ve seen how quickly things can change [with bio-security] but we’re close to locking in all of our home games.”
Doorn said that the ability for Members and fans to attend games live was still being worked through based on final venues.
“Each location presents different challenges and opportunities in terms of crowd attendance and we’re still working through those,” Doorn added.
“We’re just really excited about professional rugby returning and we’ll be keeping Members and fans informed of our progress in how they can potentially access games throughout this domestic competition.”
NSW Waratahs Vodafone Super Rugby AU home fixtures:
Round 2: Saturday 11 July v Western Force, Sydney Cricket Ground
Round 3: Saturday 18 July v Brumbies, Stadium Australia
Round 6: Saturday 8 August v Reds, Sydney*
Round 9: Saturday 29 August v Rebels, Sydney*