Ireland and Australia to play first three Test series in June
This will be the first time that the Lansdowne Cup will be contested over three games
Australia head coach Michael Cheika gives instructions to his players during a Wallabies training session earlier this month. Photograph: Gabriel Rossi/Getty Images
Ireland will play Australia in a three Test series next June for the first time in the history of internationals between the two countries.
Joe Schmidt’s side will take on the Wallabies at Suncorp stadium in Brisbane (June 9th), Melbourne’s AAMI Park (June 16th) and the Allianz stadium in Sydney (June 23rd).
The fixtures were announced to coincide with a visit of President Michael D Higgins to Australian rugby headquarters at Moore Park, during a state visit to Australia.
Ireland have played two Test matches on four previous occasions in Australia (1979, 1994, 1999 and 2003) but this is the first time that the Lansdowne Cup will be contested over three games.
An Irish side last toured to Australia in 2010 with the two most recent encounters between the countries taking place in Dublin in 2014 and 2016, both games which Ireland won, coincidentally by the exact same margin of three points.
The Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver said: “The rivalry between the two nations has grown enormously in recent years with some memorable encounters. With a huge number of Irish expats living in Australia, Ireland will enjoy strong support when they are here for the matches in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.”
The IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne admitted: “The IRFU are delighted to tour Australia in June 2018. Games involving Ireland and Australia are always great occasions and this will be an exciting tout. The Irish diaspora are renowned for supporting the Irish team when they visit their new homes so we know there will be a party atmosphere to match the world class rugby.”
Michael Cheika’s Wallabies finished second in the recent Rugby Championship behind the all conquering All Blacks. Australia lead the head-to-head stakes with 21 wins to 11, with the lone drawn game taking place in Croke Park (2009). The Aussies haven’t lost to Ireland on home soil since 1979.