International Rules series set for two tests in Australia next year

Series, which takes place in Australia, has not been contested over two matches since 2013

Ireland’s Gary Brennan with Nick Riewoldt and Jarryd Roughead of Australia during last year’s International Rules Test at Croke Park. Photo: Inpho

Ireland’s Gary Brennan with Nick Riewoldt and Jarryd Roughead of Australia during last year’s International Rules Test at Croke Park. Photo: Inpho

 

The International Rules Series between Ireland and Australia will return to a two-Test format for 2017, it has been confirmed.

Next year’s series will take place on November 11th and 18th in Australia, although the venues for the fixtures are yet to be confirmed.

It is the first time the series will take place over two matches since 2013 when Ireland easily dispatched an under-strength Australia side.

However, an Australian win in 2014 and a close contest at Croke Park last year have peaked interests enough to go back to the original format.

“We are pleased to confirm the re-instatement of a two-game series commencing next year in Australia when Joe Kernan will bring the Irish team Down Under,” GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghaíl said.

“We believe the two-game series is a logical development after the success of the last two single-games series, given the distances involved and the potential to generate even more momentum around the games.

“We look forward to renewing rivalries with the best the AFL has to offer and we acknowledge the progress made in recent months with our AFL counterparts in helping to confirm the plans for 2017.”

AFL General Manager Football Operations Mark Evans said it was the AFL’s view that the commitment to field a team comprised only of All-Australian players, under the leadership of the best coaches in the AFL, had been crucial to the agreement to extend the series again, as Australia had to match Ireland’s commitment to fielding its best players.

“The one-off Test matches in Perth and Dublin over the last two years were two high-class encounters played in front of very strong crowds. Australian and Irish fans have shown they want to see a spectacular and competitive contest played between the most talented AFL players and Ireland’s best Gaelic footballers.

“Restricting selection to only a player who has earned All Australian selection through his AFL career has ensured the prestige of playing in the International Rules Series and we look forward to hosting the Irish side again next year.”

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