The NSW Waratahs will play a fixture in country New South Wales for the first time during the 2020 Vodafone Super Rugby season – thanks to the support of the NSW government.
Scully Park will host the NSW Waratahs Round 9 clash with the Bulls on Saturday 21 March.
The fixture has been made possible courtesy of a more than joint grant from the NSW government’s Office of Sport and Drought Relief Fund.
As part of the trip north, NSW Rugby Union (NSWRU) will coordinate a range of drought-relief initiatives in the lead up to fixture, with a view of generating awareness for the plight of farmers in Tamworth and surrounding areas.
It will complement a season-long fundraising initiative to support farmers in rural NSW affected by drought, set to be launched in early-2020.
Through its Positive Rugby Foundation, NSWRU has already run mental health awareness programs for over 600 high school students across the region and trained over 150 mental health ambassadors in senior rugby clubs across regional New South Wales.
NSWRU Acting CEO, Philip Van Schalkwyk said this exciting announcement is an extension of rugby’s efforts to support regional areas.
“Country New South Wales is such an important part of our rugby community, they make up a significant portion of our participation base and are huge supporters of our game at all levels,” Van Schalkwyk said.
“Taking a Super Rugby game to Tamworth, particularly when most regional areas in New South Wales are doing it tough is something we’re proud to do and really epitomises the spirit of our game.
“We’ll be fundraising, engaging with the community and showing our support as best we can.
“This is an exciting initiative built off the back of our stadium strategy during the redevelopment of the Sydney Football Stadium.
“Scully Park is an excellent facility, with from all reports a first-class playing surface, it’s hosted a number of professional sporting events and we’re looking forward to taking Super Rugby to the community.
“I’d also like to acknowledge the work of the NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, John Barilaro and his ministerial team who have been an integral part of making this fixture in Tamworth a reality.
“Rod Laing [CEO, Wests Entertainment Group] and his team have been tremendous to work with so far, we already feel welcome and can’t wait to get up to Tamworth next year.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, John Barilaro said regional NSW will have an opportunity to host an elite level rugby match and cheer on our state when the Waratahs come to Tamworth next year.
“The televised match will showcase regional NSW before an international audience but more importantly boost the local economy when the players, support staff and fans come to town,” Barilaro said.
“The NSW Government is providing $1.8 billion in emergency drought relief funding as well as making record investments in water security infrastructure, but we’re also acutely aware of the impact this drought is having on people.
“Bringing this event to Tamworth will provide the town and surrounding areas with some respite from the unrelenting drought and boost the number of customers in our cafes, diners in restaurants and heads on beds in our motels.
NSW Rugby would also like to acknowledge the support the Wests Entertainment Group in making this fixture at Scully Park possible, as well as their commitment to fundraising for drought relief.