East to west, Rugby Australia switches venue for Bledisloe

Australia's coach Michael Cheika listens to the anthems prior to a Rugby Championship rugby match against Argentina in Salta, Argentina, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Gonzalo Prados)
New Zealand's Aaron Smith during the Rugby Championship match between South Africa and New Zealand at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

PERTH, Australia — Rugby Australia is moving one of the Bledisloe Cup tests west to Perth next year, hoping that a change from the traditional venues will bring about a change in the Wallabies' fortunes against a dominant New Zealand in the annual series.

The All Blacks have held the Bledisloe Cup since 2003 and clinched this year's series with wins in the first two matches in Sydney and Auckland. A third match is to be played on neutral ground in Yokohama, Japan, on Oct. 27.

Rugby Australia on Thursday said the Western Australia match would be held on Aug. 10 at the new Perth Stadium which can seat up to 65,000 spectators for rugby. It will be the first time a Bledisloe Cup match has been held in the western state.

The Bledisloe Cup has evolved into a three-test series, and next year's two other matches will likely be held in the rugby strongholds of Sydney or Brisbane and in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch in New Zealand. Venues or dates for the other matches were not announced.

New Zealand won the Bledisloe Cup for the 47th time this year, with Australia having won the trophy 12 times. Australia and New Zealand first met in a rugby test in 1903 but the Bledisloe Cup was introduced in the 1930s.

The first two matches of the series are part of the Rugby Championship, which two-time defending World Cup champion All Blacks also won for the third consecutive time this season.

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