Tim Sheens today marked his first visit to Canberra since being re-appointed as VB Kangaroos coach with a challenge to his players to make the mid-year Test against New Zealand a stepping stone to World Cup glory.
Tickets for the first ever Rugby League Test between Australia and New Zealand in Canberra went on sale to the public today with a capacity crowd expected to attend the historic match at Canberra Stadium on Friday, April 19, 2013.
Sheens expects the lure for players of competing in next year’s World Cup to make the Canberra Test one to remember as the Kangaroos step up their campaign to win back the World Cup trophy the Kiwis claimed in 2008.
“Every player who wants to be part of the World Cup squad will be aiming to play in this Test and perform well, and that should make for a great contest,” Sheens said today.
“I said when I first became Kangaroos coach that our aim was to win back the World Cup and we have been building towards that goal for four years now.
“We have not lost the mid-year Test in that period. It’s a record we are proud of and, in terms of building for the World Cup, this Test is a really important part of that process.
“The fans here love their Rugby League and, with so much on the line for both teams, I think they will be treated to a match to remember.”
It is a view the Kiwis share as they strive for their first victory in the mid-year Test since 1998.
“This is an important match for Canberra and also for the Kiwis,” said assistant coach Tony Iro, who flew in from New Zealand today to attend the ticket launch.
“The team has made big strides with consistency in the last year, but there are still a couple of notches we need to go up to beat the Kangaroos. That’s very much the focus for April.
“This game also gives our players the opportunity to show they should be part of our Rugby League World Cup defence, so there will be plenty of motivation to perform at Canberra Stadium.”
ARL Commission Interim Chief Executive, Mr Shane Mattiske, Deputy Chief Minister of the ACT and Minister for Sport and Recreation, Mr Andrew Barr, Acting New Zealand High Commissioner, Mr Grant Bryden, and Raiders Chief Executive, Mr Don Furner, were among the guests at Federation Mall in Canberra today to launch the on-sale of tickets for the Test, which is the first between the Kangaroos and Kiwis to be played in the nation’s capital.
Mr Mattiske said bringing the mid-year Test to the ACT reflected Rugby League’s commitment to showcasing elite matches across the country.
“Rugby League has always had a strong link with this region and it is exciting to bring one of our prestige representative matches to Canberra and be a major part of the Centenary celebrations,” he said.
“The success we have enjoyed in taking Tests between the Kangaroos and Kiwis to new venues has been amazing and the ticket sales already show that Canberra fans have embraced this match.
“It is the only Test between the Kangaroos and Kiwis before next year’s World Cup and it’s important we continue to give Rugby League fans everywhere the chance to enjoy matches of this calibre and to continue showcasing the strength of international Rugby League.”
The Test will be the highlight of a week-long Rugby League celebration that will feature a host of community and corporate events showcasing the game’s connection with the local region as Canberra celebrates its Centenary as the nation’s capital.
“The ACT Government is delighted that Canberra is hosting the Kangaroos and Kiwis in a Rugby League Test during its Centenary year,” Minister Barr said.
“I thank the ARL Commission for bringing the match to the ACT – it will be a great chance for Rugby League fans in Canberra and the surrounding region to see the world’s best players in action.”
The Test between Four Nations champions Australia and World Champions New Zealand will be the first international of an exciting year for international Rugby League in the countdown to the 2013 World Cup in the United Kingdom, Ireland and France.
The match will kick-off at 7.45pm on Friday, April 19 2013, with tickets available through Ticketek on 132 849, at Ticketek outlets or at www.ticketek.com.au
**Ticketed Club Members receive discount on general public ticket prices.
*Junior (4-15yrs); Family (2 adults+2 juniors)
Roo Crew Inclusive of t-shirt and flag