Sport Wallabies Test moved amid NSW COVID-19 outbreak
Wallabies enforcer escapes ban after red card
Lachie Swinton is available to play France after a judiciary determined his red card should not have been issued.Waratahs flanker Swinton was sent off by Australian referee on Saturday for a dangerous cleanout of Chiefs rival Lachlan Boshier at Brookvale Oval.
has officially moved the ' Test against France from the SCG to Suncorp Stadium due to New South Wales' COVID-19 outbreak.
While the venue of opening Test of the 2021 eToro France Series has been changed, the time slot will remain at 8:00 pm AEST on Wednesday, July 7.
The decision was made by Rugby Australia after the NSW government extended the state's COVID-19 restrictions until July 9.
"It's never an easy decision to move a fixture," Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos said in a statement on Sunday.
"One thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is that we have to be able to pivot quickly. Following the announcement yesterday, we were faced with yet another challenge and we knew we had to respond swiftly.
NSW COVID cluster's 'enormous' expansion sparks concern, but outbreak remains traced for now
Experts remain optimistic a COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney's eastern suburbs is contained, despite yesterday's "enormous" rise in case numbers that saw the Bondi cluster almost double in size. The number of locally acquired infections in NSW yesterday swelled to 21, after 10 new cases were recorded.Seven of those came in after the 8:00pm reporting deadline and will be officially included in today's numbers, which are set to be released at 11:00am EST.NSW Health has been continuously adding to the list of venues visited by infected people, which are mainly around Sydney.
"We were all excited for the Wallabies to return to the Sydney Cricket Ground for the first time in 35 years and have enjoyed great support and cooperation from Destination New South Wales, the New South Wales Government and the Sydney Cricket Ground in assisting us with safe quarantine of the French team, as well as the planning and preparation for the Test match.
"We're obviously disappointed for Wallabies fans in New South Wales who will miss the opportunity for a home Test in this French Series, but we are excited that Test Rugby will be returning during the eToro Rugby Championship later this year. We will continue to work with the respective health authorities around Australia to ensure all events are safely delivered for fans, players and officials."
Wallabies' White out of France series
Rugby Australia are hopeful the first Test against France can be played in Sydney, but the Wallabies will be without injured veteran halfback Nic White.Queensland's Tate McDermott is now set for his first Test start after two matches off the bench, while Brumbies No.9 Ryan Lonergan is likely to make his debut.
The second Test in the eToro France Series is expected to proceed as scheduled at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Tuesday, July 13.
RA was also forced to postpone July's Wallaroos PacificAus Sports Samoa Series due to border restrictions, but is committed to finding an alternate window later in the year for the two-Test series.
"I am equally disappointed for our Wallaroos squad following the postponement of their Series," Marinos said.
"It's been a really challenging year for them with the postponement of the Rugby World Cup to 2022 and now this delay, before we can finally see them finally taking the field in the coming months.
"We are now busy seeking an appropriate window for the Tests to take place."
Can Matt To'omua guide the young Wallabies to victory in Brisbane? .
With young Brumbies flyhalf Noah Lolesio taking the reins at number ten for the first match in Brisbane against a youthful French outfit, experience and composure will be crucial for both sides, looking to stamp their authority on the three-match series taking place across Melbourne and Brisbane. The Wallabies’ back line has been hit with injuries to experienced internationals Nic White and James O’Connor, who would have been the first-pick nine and ten to lead the Wallabies. The Aussie back line is now thin on experience, with an average of just 16 caps for a player in the new-look back line.