Wallabies confirm Perth Test venue switch

Perth will host a rugby union Test at a rectangular ground for the first time next year when Australia takes on Argentina in the Rugby Championship.

The 14 Tests so far in the West Australian capital have been played at Subiaco Oval, an Australian football venue.

But in a move aimed at delivering a fan-friendly environment for Perth rugby followers, the Test will be played at nib Stadium which has a capacity of 20,500.

The home ground for Perth’s Super Rugby franchise, the Western Force, the stadium will stage a September 17 clash with Argentina.

It has also been awarded a Rugby Championship match involving South Africa in 2017.

The stadium is one of two new Test venues for the Wallabies, with another rectangular ground, Melbourne’s AAMI Park scheduled to host one of the three-game series against England before the Rugby Championship.

Australia’s other home Rugby Championship fixtures next year will be against New Zealand on August 20 at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium and South Africa at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on September 10.

Their away games will be against the All Blacks on August 27, the Springboks on October 1 and the Pumas on October 8 at venues to be announced.

The Sydney Test against the All Blacks will be the only one of Australia’s six home games in 2016 not played at a rectangular venue.

Cynics might suggest the Wallabies are playing at smaller rectangular grounds because they would have problems filling the bigger venues, but purists will be happy to see the matches played in stadia more naturally shaped for the sport.

“Our fans deserve the best possible experience when they come to a Test match and a move to a rectangular venue which is fan-friendly and purpose built for rugby is a great outcome for fans,” Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver said.

The only component of the Wallabies 2016 schedule to be finalised is the end-of-year spring tour.

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