Rugby fans worldwide will turn their attention to Tamworth next year when the NSW Waratahs bring the Super Rugby competition to regional NSW in a show of support for drought stricken communities.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro today announced the Waratahs will host a home match at Scully Park in Tamworth during the 2020 season, which kicks off in February.
“Regional NSW will have an opportunity to host an elite level rugby match and cheer on our State with the Tahs coming to Tamworth next year,” Mr Barilaro said.
“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.
“It goes to show the resilience of regional NSW, when despite this devastating drought Tamworth will stage a world class event and generate tourism opportunities for our regions far and wide.
“Sport is often the heartbeat of regional NSW towns and the Waratah’s visit to Tamworth will provide locals with the opportunity to meet the players and for kids to be a part of skills sessions that will improve their abilities and hopefully give them a much needed boost,” he said.
Acting Minister for Sport Geoff Lee said this was a great opportunity for Tamworth locals to see their sporting heroes up close.
“The Super Rugby competition will share the benefits of sport across the State,” Mr Lee said.
“This partnership between the NSW Government and NSW Rugby Union will bring together grass roots rugby and elite level rugby for fans of all ages,” he said.
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said the match will uplift a community that is, like all of regional NSW, struggling through one of the worst droughts on record.
“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,” Mr Anderson said.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
The NSW Waratahs will play the Pretoria Bulls at Scully Park in Tamworth in round 8 of the 2020 season.