QANTAS Wallabies to prepare for Lions on the Sunshine Coast
Mar
14
2013
The Sunshine Coast Rugby Union along with Sunshine Coast Regional Council and the University of the Sunshine Coast are proud to announce that the Qantas Wallabies will be using the Sunshine Coast as their training base in the lead up to the upcoming British and Irish Lions Test Series in June.

The camp is the second of two the Wallabies will be conducting to help prepare for a Test series which only occurs once every 12 years when the Lions visit Australia.

After spending five days training at Stockland Stadium between June 9 and 15, the Wallabies will relocate to Brisbane to prepare for the first Test of the series at Suncorp Stadium on June 23.

The final 31-man Qantas Wallabies squad for the British & Irish Lions series will be announced while the team is based on the Sunshine Coast.

Qantas Wallabies coaching co-ordinator Tony McGahan says the Sunshine Coast will provide a perfect venue for the team to cap off its preparations for the series.

“In terms of facilities, the ability to get down to it with minimal outside distraction, and of course the climate, the Sunshine Coast ticks all of those boxes,’ McGahan said.

“Being so close to Brisbane is also advantageous, given that we move as a squad to the city to complete our preparations for that opening Test.”

McGahan says the choice of the Sunshine Coast freshens up the preparation by providing the players with a different surrounding to what they have had previously.

“It will be a first for all of the current players – preparing as a Wallaby group on the Sunshine Coast,” McGahan says.

“That provides a point of difference. It also allows us, as a team, to visit a different community and meet a new set of fans, which is something the players always look forward to.


“Obviously the historical precedence, in that the Wallabies won the Rugby World Cup the last time they prepared for a campaign on the Sunshine Coast, provides a pretty handy incentive as well.”

McGahan says there will be opportunities for the public to meet the team while it prepares although he said these were still to be confirmed as the preparation during the week would be intense, with a busy training schedule planned.
 
The process began in January of last year when Sunshine Coast Rugby Union Board Member, Tony Riddle invited Wallabies Head Coach Robbie Deans to attend a training session with the budding rugby talent of the Sunshine Coast. After seeing first hand the facilities at Stockland Stadium and the relaxed atmosphere of the Sunshine Coast Deans and his Staff returned in July to investigate the region’s suitability for a training base.  Since that time Australian Rugby Union Officials as well as Sunshine Coast representatives from the Sunshine Coast Regional Council, University of the Sunshine Coast and the Sunshine Coast Rugby Union have been working closely together to make this training camp a reality.

Sunshine Coast Mayor, Mark Jamieson is very supportive of the national side calling the Sunshine Coast home in the lead up to the rare British and Irish Lions Test Series. 
“I am very happy to welcome the Qantas Wallabies back to the Sunshine Coast,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“We can again provide the perfect balance of training facilities coupled with a background of relaxation and lifestyle to ensure the team’s best preparation for the games ahead.

“They will have a tough job ahead and you can be sure we will be right behind them all the way.”

The Mayor’s comments were echoed by USC’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Engagement Professor Mike Hefferan;  
“This gives us a great opportunity to showcase our sporting facilities, which are among the best of their type in Queensland and well suited to the gymnasium and pool work the team will require,” he said.
 
The last time the Wallabies based themselves on the Sunshine Coast was before the very successful 1999 Rugby World Cup when Camp Wallaby was situated in Caloundra’s Golden Beach area.  

Sunshine Coast Rugby Union Chairman, Glenn Ferguson was pleased that the Wallabies could return to the Sunshine Coast and that the sport of rugby union continued to create a greater footprint in the region.

“We are very excited to be able to accommodate the Qantas Wallabies as they prepare for the test series.  The Sunshine Coast Rugby Union has been very proactive in exposing the local area to top class rugby with the Queensland Reds playing two trial matches here in the past year as well as having guest coaching appearances by people of the calibre of Robbie Deans.  Having our national team prepare here for this series played only every 12 years is sure to have rugby fans young and old pretty excited.”

The British and Irish Lions is a rugby union team chosen from players from the national sides of Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland. The "Lions" (as they are colloquially known) have toured in the Southern Hemisphere from 1888 onwards.  The last time the Lions toured Australia was in 2001 when they were beaten by the Wallabies in their three test series.

Officials that will be in attendance: 

 Mayor Mark Jamieson – Mayor of Sunshine Coast Council
Tony McGahan – Coaching Co–ordinator QANTAS Wallabies
Professor Mike Hefferan – Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of the Sunshine Coast
Glenn Ferguson – Chairman Sunshine Coast Rugby Union
Tony Riddle – Director Sunshine Coast Rugby Union
Simon Ball – Manager Stockland Park


ENDS


All media who have further requests, alternate requirements or require more information should contact Ashley Dionysius on 0407 642 336.

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