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Trans Tasman Battle – 6 years in the waiting

Media Release

Trans Tasman Battle – 6 years in the waiting, 3 weeks to go

Australia and New Zealand will battle it out in a Trans Tasman Series for the first time in six years on the ANZAC Day weekend, Friday 24th April until Sunday 26th April 2009.The re-introduction of the concept will see Australia and New Zealand take on each other at WIN Stadium in Wollongong (Australia) in the first of a regular annual series to be played between the two countries.

The two teams have not faced each other since the 2007 World Cup in South Africa and it will be the first time that the majority of the Touch Blacks have played against Australia on their home soil. This will also be the introduction of many of our youth players now stepping up into the Open grade and competing at an International level.

Joe Sprangers, TouchNZ CEO, comments “we’re excited to be reinstating a Trans Tasman Series that puts the two best teams in the world against each other for their enjoyment as International players and that of the viewers on TV. We are in a rebuilding phase as we approach the 2011 World Cup in Scotland, so this level of competition is vital for the new players to gain International experience before then”.
The Australian teams will be hoping to keep their strong record against the Kiwi's intact after their dominance in recent years and the Kiwi’s as the underdogs have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Sprangers comments “ we prefer to be taking this young team in as the underdogs, it firmly puts the pressure on Australia from the start. It also makes any victories that come that much sweeter.”

In the last Trans Tasman series in 2002, the Australian Open's Men's and Women's team were too good for their New Zealand counterparts, while the New Zealand Mixed team won two games to one. In the past Australia’s strength have been Men’s and Women’s grades, while New Zealand has dominated in the Mixed Grade. We asked Peter Walters, ex Touch Black and the Touch NZ High Performance Manager why he thought that was, he commented “ Touch NZ has in recent years focused on how we can be included in the Commonwealth Games and it was clear to us that to be a contender it had to be with the Mixed Team Grade. From that point NZ focused more on its mixed to strive for that ultimate goal and Australia didn’t. What I believe we’re seeing is the outcome of that focus. We are now focusing on rebuilding the strength in the Women’s and Men’s grade for the World Cup in Scotland 2011 so we can bring home the Gold in all grades.“

This event follows Australia's successful Youth Trans Tasman Series against New Zealand at The Trusts Stadium, Waitakere in January, winning five of the six divisions contested. Again New Zealand was successful in the Under 21 Mixed Grade.
New Zealand will host the second series in early 2010 in Auckland.


RJ Media in Australia will be producing 3x 1hour TV packages that will be made available here in NZ for free to air and pay TV. They will be commentated by Andrew Voss and Benji Marshall. If you have any interest in providing a medium for airing this coverage, please contact Julie Monaghan
Professional photography will also be taken of all games and a selection put up on our Touch NZ website. If you would like access to any shots for publications please contact Julie Monaghan.

ends

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